A map from the James River Association in Virginia shows the problem: the water intake for the city of Richmond, Virginia is on the James River, downstream from a crude oil spill in Lynchburg, Virginia.
From the Richmond Times-Dispatch -
No one was killed or injured when more than a dozen CSX tanker cars derailed on Wednesday afternoon, but the resulting fire and spill prompted City Manager Kimball Payne to declare an emergency and temporarily evacuate part of downtown.
The spill also prompted Richmond utility officials to prepare to possibly switch to an alternative source for the city’s drinking water supply, which depends primarily on the James. With the river at flood stage, that isn’t likely, said city officials, who plan to use booms to capture any oil nearing the treatment plant.
A drone video from Samuel Scott at East Coast Drones shows the aftermath of the train wreck.
More news from ABC 8, Lynchburg Train Derailment Affecting Richmond's Water Supply
At this point, city leaders say there's no need for residents to be alarmed. Oil booms have been placed in the section of the river where drinking water comes from and the area is being monitored.
"We are going to continually test the water to determine whether or not there is any oil on the downstream side of the booms," says Department of Public Utilities Director Robert Steidel.