City monitoring for possible water contaminants - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

City monitoring for possible water contaminants

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT/AP) -

There are still concerns crude oil from the Lynchburg trail derailment is making its way down the James River to our water supply in Central Virginia. A bird's eye view of the violent current caused worry Thursday for many Richmonders enjoying the James.

"Just like how the city is going to get water, drinking water, especially out of the tap and stuff like that," said Mykaila McWhirt, who has lived in the city for about two years.

McWhirt worries about a busy weekend on the river now that sunshine is finally in the forecast.

"I personally wouldn't get in it right now knowing that there might be oil and stuff in it," she said.

The water is moving quickly so whatever is coming will get here faster. Not only is the river current swift, but the canal's pace has increased, as well.

The city's Director of Public Utilities, Robert Steidel, offered reassurance.

"Nothing has been detected," he said. "The water is safe."

Some have asked if it will stay that way as time passes and the water travels. Steidel says it's a wait-and-see type of situation.

"Continuous testing is going on," he explained. "The boons only have to be deployed once. They float on top of the water to get anything that's floating on top of the water."

Steidel said Richmond's Department of Public Utilities adjusted its treatment process by adding a chemical to help absorb any contaminants. Also, those high river levels should help disperse what's not supposed to be there.

"Just checking to make sure the water is safe before people actually drink it and stuff, so that's good," McWhirt added.

In Henrico County, officials are prepared to close water intake temporarily if necessary. They have also already started to fill storage tanks.

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