Officials Still Urge Caution as River Algae Levels Subside
Tap Water Safe to Drink, However River Recreation Not Advised
23 August 2015
WHEELING - A health advisory issued this week urging residents to
use caution while doing recreational water activities in the Ohio
River this weekend is no longer necessary for most of the area.
The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department and city of Wheeling
have been working with several local, state and national
organizations concerning the recent discovery of blue-green algae
along the Ohio River near the Pike Island Locks and Dam.
With assistance from the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation
Commission and the Ohio EPA, water samples collected Friday along
the Ohio River show algae levels below reporting limits.
Although the water quality levels are improving, caution should be
observed in areas above the Pike Island Locks and Dam on the Ohio
River. While the algae, which occurs naturally, is no longer
visible in large mats, Ohio Valley residents should still use
caution when using the Ohio River for water recreational
A water conservation order is still in effect for all of Ohio
County - including Wheeling, Ohio County PSD, Bethlehem,
Triadelphia and other water operations supplied by the city -
until further notice.
This water conservation has no effect on water quality. Residents
are asked to refrain from watering lawns, filling swimming pools,
washing cars and any other unnecessary water usage.
This water conservation order is being issued as a precaution
until water storage levels are achieved. The Wheeling-Ohio County
Health Department is asking Ohio County residents not to do open
burning of trash, yard debris or other material until further
notice. The city will not be issuing burn permits until further
Public drinking water supplied from the Wheeling Water Department,
including Ohio County Public Service District, will continued to
be closely monitored. The Wheeling Water Department is now
blending water from the Ohio River with well water as a
precaution. Public drinking water supplied by the Wheeling Water
Department continues to be safe to drink.
Water testing on Wednesday at the Pike Island Lock and Dam showed
elevated levels of blue-green algae. The algae, at high
concentrations, can cause health problems such as skin irritation,
eye irritation or intestinal illnesses.
Anyone who may be experiencing symptoms related to exposure to
blue-green algae, including stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting,
headache, fever, muscle weakness, or difficulty breathing, should
contact their health care provider, particularly if they have been
in contact with Ohio River water.
For more information, contact the Wheeling Ohio County Health
Department at 304-234-3682 or the Wheeling Water Treatment Plant