More than 100 million gallons of untreated sewage spilled into the Ohio River in southern Louisville, Ky., after a fire disabled a water treatment plant earlier this month. Officials are investigating whether high-voltage electrical equipment might have been struck by lightning.
According to reports, after more than 100 million gallons were diverted around any treatment, crews were able to restore chlorination, meaning the flow was at least receiving a disinfectant to help kill bacteria.
The plant has two main electrical feeds, and the blast destroyed one of them, according to a Courier-Journal report. The fire caused electrical and mechanical damage to plant equipment and some flooding of equipment. A thunderstorm passed through Louisville the evening of April 8, and if lightning was the cause, the Metropolitan Sewer District may be able to make a case it could not have prevented the incident and should not be fined. The U.S. EPA often assesses penalties for spills.