Henrico takes precautionary measure, shuts down intake pumps overnight

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

1.1 million pounds of toxic pollution were dumped into the James River in 2010 according to a report from Environment Virginia.

HENRICO, Va. (WTVR) –Henrico County Department of Utilities took a precautionary measures to protect its drinking water supply following Wednesday’s crude oil spill into the James River after a CSX train derailment in Lynchburg.

Officials shut down the intake pumps at the county’s water treatment plant from approximately 11:30 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Friday as a precaution after a reconnaissance flight observed an oil sheen on the river near Cartersville in Cumberland County.

During that time Henrico stopped producing drinking water and used supplies from storage tanks while testing samples taken from the river.

No oil was detected in the samples and the intake pumps were restarted and were operating normally Friday, said Assistant Director of Public Utilities William Mawyer.

Swift-water rescue boats deployed Thursday by the Division of Fire did not observe or detect oil in the water or along the river’s shoreline.

Henrico will refill its water storage tanks, which have a capacity of 35 million gallons. Mawyer said the water treatment plant will continue to run its ozone disinfection system at elevated levels as an additional precaution.

The county spokesman said they will continue to take river samples Friday to test for the presence of hydrocarbons and to monitor water quality. Hydrocarbons have not been detected in samples taken since Thursday, Mawyer said. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is assisting and also is taking river water samples.

The Division of Police’s Metro Aviation Unit has resumed reconnaissance flights to look for and monitor any oil sheen on the river.

County officials continue to work with state agencies including the departments of Health, Emergency Management and Environmental Quality, the city of Richmond and CSX.

“Henrico County will continue to be vigilant and track this situation closely,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said, in a press release. “We remain prepared to take additional measures to protect our drinking water supply, if necessary.”