Ohio River

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

The Wheeling Suspension Bridge over the Ohio River reopened to the public on July 28, 1860. The bridge had originally opened to much fanfare in 1849. At the time, it was the longest clear span in the world and helped usher in an era of great American bridge building.

Most significantly for the northern panhandle, the bridge boosted Wheeling’s economic fortunes. Three major transportation routes converged in Wheeling. In addition to the heavily traveled Ohio River and Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the bridge now extended the National Road westward into Ohio.

Pleasants County
David Benbennick / Wikimedia Commons

A West Virginia county has designated three new water trails that follow segments of the Ohio River and two tributaries.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the Pleasants County Convention and Visitors Bureau announced the three St. Marys-area trails on Friday. The Middle Island Creek Water Trail, French Creek Water Trail and Ohio River Wildlife Refuge Water Trail join more than a dozen such trails in West Virginia.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / via Michael Keller

On March 16, 1742, John Peter Salling and four others started out from Natural Bridge, Virginia, on a trip to explore the Mississippi River. Their goal was to strengthen England’s claims to western lands.

Salling kept a journal of the trip, including his trek through what is now southern West Virginia. When they reached the New River, they built a boat and covered it with buffalo hides.

barges
FlickreviewR / Wikimedia Commons

The Coast Guard says the Racine Lock and Dam on the Ohio River near Huntington is closed after a barge breakaway.

No injuries or spills were reported.

It devastated communities along the entire 1000-mile stretch of the Ohio.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

On January 28, 1937, the Ohio River crested in Huntington nearly 20 feet above flood stage. Days earlier, it’d crested at the same level in Parkersburg and 10 feet above flood stage in Wheeling.

The Ohio River had always been prone to flooding. Just 10 months before, the Ohio had hit record levels at Wheeling.

Tim Reddinger, Ohio River, Beaver, Pennsylvania
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It’s easy to take the water coming out of your faucet for granted, but tragedies like the Elk River Chemical spill that left thousands of residents in West Virginia's capital city without water for days have put tap water front and center.

Appalachia is no stranger to water contamination, especially in places with a history of heavy industry, like the Ohio River Valley. But as a large source of drinking water, how do we know it’s safe?

Kara Lofton

Industry has left a dirty legacy along the Ohio River. We’re talking about toxins like PCBs, dioxins and mercury—discharged into the water by steel mills and the petroleum industry for decades. This week, we caught up with Judy Petersen, executive director of the Kentucky Waterways Alliance, to tell us more about how legacy pollution—and new pollution—impacts more of our lives than we might think.

Cheat River
TimK MSI / Wikimedia Commons

The Cheat River flows pale green and slate gray, glistening in the sunshine as it gathers speed, turns to whitewater and drops between rocks on the way toward the Monongahela River. From there it makes its way to the Ohio River and the drinking water of millions of people.

As West Virginia pushes toward an uncertain economic future, a river that once flowed bright orange charts a course out of mining's toxic legacies.

A recent breakdown at an Ohio River dam served as a wake-up call about the aging infrastructure that keeps river commerce flowing. The Ohio is one of the country’s busiest working rivers and some navigation controls are approaching the century mark. I went to see these ailing structures and a new multi-billion dollar project in the works.

Critical Stretch of River

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, a new effort is being made in Huntington to train laid off coal miners for work in a new industry and Foy Vance is along with a special Thursday edition of the Mountain Stage song of the week.

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Jeremy Stump via Flickr

Interstate cooperation has been crucial to restoring waters in the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay. But so far, there hasn’t been much interest in marshaling a regional effort to improve the heavily polluted Ohio River. Those living along its banks from Pittsburgh to Louisville are beginning to realize the increasing value of this water, and how reimagining their relationship to it could prove critical to the region’s future.

Ebenezer Zane's homestead.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Zane, Wheeling, homstead

Pioneer Ebenezer Zane, born on October 7, 1747, near present-day Moorefield settled at the confluence of Wheeling Creek and the Ohio River with his brothers Jonathan and Silas, Zane settled in 1770, and later laid out the town of Wheeling. An advocate for education in western Virginia In 1787, he helped establish Clarksburg’s Randolph Academy, supposedly the oldest school of its kind west of the Alleghenies.

Ohio River Parkersburg
TimK MSI / Wikimedia Commons

More than 50 miles of the Ohio and Little Kanawha rivers have been designated as a water trail to highlight the recreational options available in Wood County.

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel reports the Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau says in a news release that the West Virginia Recreational Trails Advisory Board granted the new designation, which will be celebrated Saturday at the annual Parkersburg Paddlefest event.

Brian Turner / Wikimedia Commons

DuPont is presenting its case this week in one of the 3,500 lawsuits alleging a link between illnesses and the company discharging the chemical C8 into the Ohio River.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Anthony Playtis, who spent years overseeing testing and monitoring of workers at DuPont's Ohio River plant in West Virginia, testified that blood tests of plant workers were below the company's acceptable exposure limit.

Ohio River near Huntington
JaGa / wikimedia commons

Cleanup day is coming this weekend for the Ohio River as well as the Kentucky River.

River Sweep 2016 is Saturday.

For the Ohio River, the event covers the entire river, from its origin in Pittsburgh to its end in Cairo, Illinois. The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission says that includes nearly 3,000 miles of shoreline and many tributaries.

The commission is an interstate water pollution agency for the Ohio River Valley. It organizes the River Sweep, along with environmental protection and natural resource agencies from:

wikimedia commons

West Virginia public health officials have lifted an advisory warning of potential risks associated with an algae bloom in the Ohio River and some of its tributaries.

The advisory that ended Tuesday was issued Sept. 4 for public water systems and the public.

DuPont's Washington Works
Parkersburg News & Sentinel

Jurors are deliberating in the federal case of an Ohio woman who says she got cancer after drinking water contaminated by a chemical from a DuPont plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia.

It's one of two test cases that could influence thousands of similar lawsuits about the chemical giant's discharging of C8 into the Ohio River and drinking water.

wikimedia commons

Officials in Huntington have lifted a health advisory along the Ohio River for algae that had turned the waters a bluish green.

The Cabell-Huntington Health Department said in a statement Thursday that residents no longer have to avoid contact with the river because the algae's presence has been reduced.

Ohio River
YiFeiBot / wikimedia commons

A swim across the Ohio River from Cincinnati to northern Kentucky and back has been postponed because of toxic algae blooms found in the river.

Brewster Rhoads is swim chair and a volunteer for the sustainability organization Green Umbrella. He told The Cincinnati Enquirer it's hoped any health threat will be gone by the tentative new date of Oct. 10.

water faucet
wikimedia

The city of Wheeling plans to boost its backup well water system's capacity by drilling two additional wells.

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