Is it safe to paddle the Ohio River? Here’s how to find out

canoes on the Ohio River

We now have a much improved tool to know if the Ohio River, Mill Creek, Little Miami or Muddy Creek are currently contaminated with untreated sewage.

The Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) has created a website showing Combined (sewage and stormwater) Overflows (known as CSOs) that have had activity in the last 72 hours. One can expect high levels of fecal coliform, bacteria, and pathogens in the rivers for up to 72 hours after a rains storm.

Here is the link:

Scroll down for the map that you can enlarge and see just where water quality is being impacted. Expand the map and click on the dots to get the Overflow number and its location. The location is where a diversion dam, gate or regulator is diverting sewage to the river, rather than where the discharge hits the river. But you can tell which river since they are labeled on the map. MSD expects to add more information to this tool, that will show past history and volumes of overflows.

There are other types of overflows, like overflowing manholes and SSOs (sanitary (only) Sewer Overflows) that are not on the map but we hope that MSD will add them to the map since they can send a lot of sewage into the nearby streams or streets.

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