CSX train cars carrying crude oil derailed in Lynchburg Virginia, dumping its contents into the James River, where it caught on fire. DPU received this information at approximately 2:44 p.m. on April 30, 2014. Lynchburg is two hours west of Richmond.
Does this impact city of Richmond drinking water since Richmond gets its water from the James River?
Currently there has been no impact to Richmond’s drinking water source. There is no evidence that any residual oil has made its way to Richmond. However as a precautionary measure, oil absorption booms have been placed at the opening of the Kanawha Canal and other locations to catch any residual oil that might reach it.
Is Richmond testing the water to ensure it is safe?
Yes. To date (May 1, 2014) our testing has not yielded any residual oil. Richmond routinely tests the water multiple times throughout each day.
Is Richmond’s drinking water safe?
Absolutely. The city continues to pull its water supply from the James River. The water is safe to drink and we will ensure that it stays that way.
What is the city’s plan if oil contamination makes its way to Richmond?
As a precautionary measure, we have filled the Kanawha Canal up from the James River prior to any oil arriving. While there is no evidence of an oil sheen, in the very unlikely event there is, we can isolate the canal and pull water from it as our water source.
What other agencies is the city in communication with?
The city of Richmond is in touch with our counterparts in the surrounding counties, as well as the Richmond Health District, Office of Emergency Management, and the Department of Environmental Quality. We continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds.