Monday, October 30, 2000

Sludge dissipates on way to Cincinnati

        Though Tuesday was the estimated date coal sludge would arrive in Cincinnati after an Oct. 11 Big Sandy River spill, environmental officials said Sunday the muck is dissipating in the Ohio River.

        Coordinators at the Martin County Coal Corp. site in Inez, Ky., said Sunday that the sludge is disappearing far upriver of Cincinnati. They are taking regular turbidity readings, measuring the river's cloudiness.

        “Last report from (the field) is it is reaching background levels,” said Alan Vicory, executive director and chief engineer for Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission. “We're on the verge of pulling our crew in.”

        Because the sludge has dissipated it has become hard to track: “You can't find it. What that means is it is fundamentally not there,” Mr. Vicory said.

        Water officials said last week that although the sludge contains substances such as arsenic and mercury, Greater Cincinnati water processing facilities routinely remove these substances.


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