Is the Ohio River Contaminated?

Is the Ohio River Contaminated?

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Is the Ohio River Contaminated?

In early February 2023, a Norfolk Southern train derailed near the town of East Palestine, OH. The train was carrying numerous contaminants. 

These various compounds, including polyvinyl chloride, are mostly used in the manufacture of plastics. Some of the toxins were released into the air to avoid the possibility of an explosion. 

Other chemicals spilled into the Ohio River. This dangerous derailment has left millions of people asking, “Is the Ohio River contaminated?” 

More than five million U.S. citizens rely on the Ohio River for their drinking water. Because of this, the question of the water’s safety is paramount. 

Drinking hazardous manufacturing chemicals can result in a wide range of dangerous medical issues. Victims may experience cognitive, emotional, and physical damage. 

Also, some communities may need to be evacuated when their water supply becomes undrinkable. For this reason, those downriver of the Norfolk Southern derailment are asking the authorities, “Is the Ohio River contaminated?” 

While local water authorities claim that the water in Cincinnati and Louisville is safe to drink, many citizens are hesitant to carry on as normal. Those near the initial spill have reported various physical and social concerns. 

If you believe you have a valid water contamination claim, do not wait. Securing legal representation is the surest way to recover the money to which you are rightfully entitled. 

The knowledgeable attorneys at Morgan & Morgan know how to hold large corporations accountable. Do not allow a negligent company to leave you with financial and personal losses from water contamination. Fill out the Morgan & Morgan contact form online to schedule a free consultation now.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • What Chemicals Were Spilled Into the Ohio River?

    The Norfolk Southern train derailed because of an issue with the braking system. While newer electric brakes are more reliable, many large corporations fail to invest in safety updates. 

    This failure can result in train cars colliding with one another and derailing. The Norfolk Southern train that crashed near East Palestine, OH, was carrying vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, ethylhexyl acrylate, and isobutylene. 

    In the first few days after the crash, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources reported an increase in the deaths of local fish. The release of butyl acrylate, specifically, has concerned those who rely on the Ohio River for potable water.

  • What Is Butyl Acrylate?

    Butyl acrylate is a chemical that is made up of atoms like carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. This compound is often used in industries like manufacturing and construction. 

    Butyl acrylate is needed in the manufacturing of:


    Many adhesives rely on this chemical to function properly. Adhesives made with butyl acrylate can stick to metal, paper, or plastics.


    Butyl acrylate is used to make coatings for surfaces, including wood, metal, and concrete. These durable coatings can protect surfaces from abrasion, erosion, weathering, and chemical damage.


    Many of the plastics found in food packaging, toys, and medical devices are made using butyl acrylate. This compound allows plastics to be more flexible and durable.


    Another manufacturing use for this chemical is paints that are durable, weather-resistant, and flexible. Paints containing butyl acrylate can be used for outdoor applications or in situations where flexibility is important. 

    The name “butyl” specifies an arrangement of carbon and hydrogen atoms in the molecule. The word “acrylate” refers to a type of molecule that has a special group of atoms called an ester. This ester group makes butyl acrylate a type of chemical called an acrylic ester. 

    When butyl acrylate is used to make things like adhesives or coatings, it can help those products stick to surfaces better. It can also make those products more resistant to water and other environmental factors. Butyl acrylate can also help plastics become more flexible or durable. 

    Ultimately, butyl acrylate is a versatile chemical that has many useful applications in a variety of industries. However, when ingested, it is a hazardous toxin.

  • What Are The Outcomes of Drinking Butyl Acrylate?

    Water containing significant levels of butyl acrylate is highly toxic. When someone drinks this dangerous chemical, they are likely to experience a wide range of medical issues and complications. 

    When victims ingest butyl acrylate, they may experience symptoms such as: 

    • Abdominal pain and discomfort
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Dizziness and loss of balance 

    In severe cases, ingestion can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. It is critical to note that butyl acrylate is not meant for human consumption. If you suspect someone has ingested butyl acrylate, seek immediate medical attention. 

    Authorities in communities around the Ohio River are continuing to test for detectable levels of this dangerous toxin. When corporate negligence results in an instance of water contamination, those affected deserve justice.

  • Do I Have a Valid Water Contamination Claim?

    When you believe you have been harmed because of water contamination, it is important to reach out to an attorney. You may be able to recover compensation for the losses you have experienced. If a negligent corporation or a government entity is responsible for the damage you suffered, you may have a valid claim. 

    Water contamination claims can be complex. Fortunately, the skilled team at America’s largest tort law firm can help. 

    The Morgan & Morgan tort attorneys know how to fight a successful water contamination case. Like many civil claims, these cases often revolve around the legal concept of “negligence.” 

    Plaintiffs in water contamination cases usually need to provide evidence that the other party was negligent. Doing so involves proving the following four factors:

    Duty of Care

    The claimant must provide evidence that the at-fault party owed them a duty of care. Corporations have an implied legal duty to operate in a reasonably safe manner. 

    For shipping companies, the duty of care may include using reasonably secure transport vehicles or equipment. A Morgan and Morgan lawyer will review the facts of your case to prove that a negligent party owed you a duty of care. 

    Breach of Duty

    To prove negligence, the plaintiff is required to show that the defendant failed to fulfill their duty. In the case of water contamination, the agency or company must have breached its duty to take reasonable care.


    Negligence also involves a causal connection between the breach of duty and the harm sustained. In other words, the plaintiff must prove that the at-fault party’s breach was the direct or proximate cause of the damage. 

    If your illness or injury was caused by something other than negligent behavior, you will be unable to file a successful claim. A knowledgeable legal representative will use the evidence in your case to prove the causal relationship between the breach and the resulting harm.

    Actual Harm

    Breaching the duty of care is not enough for a successful water contamination claim. The claimant must show that they suffered measurable harm as the result of the at-fault party’s negligent actions. 

    When you contact one of the premier legal professionals at Morgan & Morgan, you can rest assured your case is in good hands. Large businesses should not be able to saddle victims with the costs and losses resulting from corporate negligence. 

  • What are Typical Damages in Water Contamination Claims?

    The term for payments to victims of negligence in tort legal claims is “damages.” Tort claimants have the legal option to pursue repayment for any losses they experienced as a result of water contamination. 

    Some of the most common damages in these claims include:

    Resulting Property Damage

    When water becomes contaminated, it can cause damage to homes, apartments, and other property. Depending on the type of contamination, property owners may experience harm to appliances, plumbing, and sprinkler systems.

    Health Issues

    When you have been exposed to contaminated water, you could suffer a range of health effects. While some illnesses from tainted water may be mild, many victims of contamination may experience long-term harm. 

    Dangerous toxins like butyl acrylate can cause severe harm when ingested. This type of outcome can leave victims with hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical debt. Examples include: 

    • Hospitalization
    • Prescription medication
    • Doctor visits
    • Surgical interventions 

    Consult with a Morgan & Morgan lawyer to accurately calculate the costs resulting from your water-related health issues.

    Economic Losses

    Contaminated water can also result in significant economic harm. For instance, the town of East Palestine was evacuated temporarily in the days following the Norfolk Southern train derailment. 

    This type of outcome can result in lost business revenue and missed days of work. Water contamination may also lead to decreases in property values. 

    These are only a few examples of the damages that plaintiffs can claim through water contamination cases. If you believe you have been harmed because of corporate negligence, speak with a tort lawyer to explore your legal rights and options.

  • Is It Important to Hire an Attorney With Courtroom Experience?

    Yes. You should never hire a legal representative who lacks requisite trial experience. 

    Most tort claims do not result in the need to go to court. However, water contamination claims often involve large government entities or private corporations. These organizations are sometimes uncooperative and deny or downplay the harm they caused. When this happens, a trial may be necessary.  

    Fortunately, Morgan and Morgan is home to more than 700 trial-ready tort lawyers. Make sure to speak with a law firm with a long track record of courtroom success.

  • How Does Morgan & Morgan Handle Legal Fees?

    When you hire a legal professional, you should not have to worry about the cost of representation. Our compassionate attorneys know that victims of water contamination often experience a wide range of financial difficulties. 

    Because of this, we provide no-cost legal consultations with no obligation to hire us. If you decide to hire Morgan and Morgan, we will represent you in exchange for a portion of the recovery from your claim. 

    In other words, you will not pay any attorneys’ fees unless we successfully get money for you. We will obtain compensation for the losses you experienced, or the fee is free.

  • Morgan & Morgan Is Here for You

    Corporations should not remain unaccountable after causing damage from water contamination. Those who sustain physical, emotional, and economic harm deserve repayment. 

    If you have become ill as a result of contaminated water from the Ohio River, do not hesitate. The Morgan and Morgan legal team is ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. 

    Our friendly staff will happily schedule a free legal case evaluation for you. Simply fill out the online contact form to arrange your consultation today. Let us fight to get justice for you.

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