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Recreational users of Kentucky River warned after Jim Beam bourbon warehouse fire

Posted at 12:29 PM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-05 08:39:08-04

WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Due to a fire at the Jim Beam bourbon warehouse, officials are warning recreational users of the potential impact to the Kentucky River.

Recreational users are encouraged to be aware of the conditions and use caution when on the river.

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet officials believe that runoff from the fire will create conditions that include water discoloration, foaming and an odor.

The runoff could create low dissolved oxygen levels, which could have a serious impact on the aquatic life in the river.

The cabinet's emergency response team, Woodford and Franklin Counties' Emergency Management, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and an environmental contractor hired by Jim Beam have been working on limiting the impact the fire has on the river.

The warehouse, which is located on McCracken Pike near Glen's Creek, caught fire on Wednesday morning. About 45,000 barrels of bourbon have been reportedly destroyed.

Recreational activity along the river is not prohibited, but people are being cautioned to be aware of the conditions of the river when using it.

According to the Frankfort Plant Board, the Kentucky River can still provide drinkable water. Some runoff entered Glenn's Creek from the fire, which caused the runoff to go into the Kentucky River.

FPB is treating the water and advise that some customers might notice a sweet or bourbon odor in the water. State and local officials are still monitoring the situation.

"Our priority every day is to ensure public safety and public health," said FPB Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Julie Roney.

Roney also said, "We routinely monitor and sample both the treatment plant and distribution system, with the goal to meet and exceed water standards and to protect our customers."