KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Kentucky’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) is currently responding to a barge incident that occurred early Tuesday morning on the Ohio River in Louisville.

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said the incident involves 11 barges, 10 of which are loose from the tug. Officials said one barge carrying about 1,400 tons of methanol has become lodged at the McAlpine Dam and is partially submerged.

Other barges were said to be carrying soy and corn.

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet’s ERT said it has dispatched a boat team to assist with downstream assessment and water quality monitoring. Officials note the nearest municipal water intake downstream is in Henderson.

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, three barges remain loose, including the vessel containing methanol.

“Methanol is a water soluble, colorless liquid. Methanol evaporates when exposed to air, quickly dissolves in water and is readily biodegradable,” said Louisville Metro Emergency Services. “However, it is potentially harmful if ingested or inhaled in sufficient quantities.”

Officials said monitoring is still in effect, and there continues to be no evidence of leaks.


The U.S. Coast Guard continues to investigate.