Bus Shelter Ads: Everything You Need to Know Thursday, Jun 9 2022 

By Jacob Maslow – Branded Content

Bus shelter advertising may be the perfect option for you if you’re looking for a new way to market your business! But before you spend your money, there are a few things you need to know.

This blog post will discuss everything you need to know about bus shelter ads. In addition, we’ll cover topics such as transit advertising and how to create a successful marketing campaign. So if you’re considering using bus shelters to promote your business, read on!

What Are Bus Shelter Ads?

Bus shelter ads are a type of out-of-home advertising (OOH) that uses bus shelters as a platform to display advertisements. Bus shelter ads can promote products, services, or events.

How Can It Benefit Your Business?

There are many benefits of bus shelter advertising. First, bus shelter ads are a great way to reach a large audience. According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), OOH advertising reaches more than 95% of people ages 18-49.

Second, bus shelter ads are cost-effective. They are often less expensive than other forms of advertising. They can be used to target a specific audience. Bus shelter ads will be ideal if you want to reach people who take public transportation.

Additionally, bus shelter ads can create brand awareness and recall. A study conducted by Arbitron Inc. found that bus shelter ads had a 97% brand awareness rate.

What Is Transit Advertising?

Transit advertising is a form of bus shelter advertising that uses buses, trains, subways, and other forms of public transportation as a platform to display advertisements. Transit advertising can be used to promote products, services, or events.

How Is It Different From Bus Shelter Advertising?

The main difference between transit advertising and bus shelter advertising is the platform used to display the advertisements. Transit advertising uses public transportation as a platform, while bus shelter advertising uses bus shelters.

Creating a Successful Marketing Campaign

Now that you know the benefits of bus shelter advertising, it’s time to learn how to create a successful marketing campaign. There are four critical elements to creating a successful bus shelter ad campaign:

  1. A clear and concise message: Your bus shelter ad should have a clear and concise message. The text should be easy to read and understand.
  2. An eye-catching design: Your bus shelter ad should have an eye-catching design. This will help ensure that people notice your ad.
  3. A call to action: Your bus shelter ad should have a call to action. This could be something like “Visit our website for more information.”
  4. A target audience: When creating your bus shelter ad, you should have a target audience in mind. This will help you make an ad relevant to your target audience.

What Are the Costs Associated With Bus Shelter Advertising?

The cost of bus shelter advertising varies depending on several factors, such as the ad’s size, the bus shelter’s location, and the campaign’s length.

  • Size: The size of your bus shelter ad will affect the cost. Bus shelter ads come in various sizes, from small ads that are only a few inches wide to large ads that are several feet wide.
  • Location: The location of the bus shelter will also affect the cost. Bus shelters in high-traffic areas will typically be more expensive than those in lower-traffic spaces.
  • Length: The length of your bus shelter ad campaign will also affect the cost. Shorter campaigns will typically be less expensive than longer campaigns.

How Can You Measure the Success of Your Bus Shelter Ad Campaign?

There are a few ways to measure the success of your bus shelter ad campaign. One way to measure the success of your bus shelter ad campaign is to track the number of people who see your ad. This can be done by conducting surveys or using traffic counters.

Another way to measure the success of your bus shelter ad campaign is to track the number of people who take action after seeing your ad. This could include tracking website traffic, online sales, or in-store sales. Finally, you can also measure your bus shelter ad’s brand awareness and recall. This can be done by conducting surveys or focus groups.

In Closing.

Now that you know everything you need about bus shelter ads, it’s time to start your marketing campaign! If you follow the tips we’ve outlined above, you’ll be sure to create a successful bus shelter ad campaign. Bus shelter advertising is a highly effective marketing tool that can help businesses reach their goals. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to help you get started with bus shelter advertising. Thank you for reading! 

Photo Courtesy // Jacob Maslow //

The post Bus Shelter Ads: Everything You Need to Know appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

Better bike lanes mean better student safety Wednesday, Mar 23 2022 

By Catherine Brown–

Everyday, students ride bikes to get to class, to get home, or to get around the city. With better bike lanes, bike riding around campus could be made safer for everyone involved.

The biggest problem about bike lanes on campus is not necessarily the lanes themselves, but the lack thereof. Simply, there are too few bike lanes around campus for the number of people that ride bikes.

Without bike lanes, bikers either ride on the sidewalks or on the streets in car lanes — both of which are risky to the safety of the bikers and other pedestrians, as well as a danger to drivers.

And just like with electric scooters, bicycles are prohibited from being ridden on sidewalks.

Louisville Metro law states that bikes must be ridden on the sidewalk whenever feasible.

The Louisville Metro Government website says that “No person over 11 years of age or older shall operate a bicycle on any sidewalk within the geographical boundary limits of Louisville Metro, and nobody of any age shall ride on the sidewalk downtown.”

Lack of proper bike lanes makes following these rules and regulations difficult. As a result, cyclists ignore other bike safety laws put in place.

Unfortunately, the problem with asking for better bike lanes around the university is that many of the streets and sidewalks that surround the campus — like those beyond 2nd street near the residential areas — are not owned by U of L. Rather, many are owned by the city government. Thus, asking for improvements to be made means making appeals to the city council, not the university administration.

Nevertheless, poor bike lanes that end up affecting pedestrians and drivers are problematic and need to be fixed so that riders have more opportunity to ride in the lanes instead of sidewalks.

Additionally, improving the bike lanes could improve upon the problem of electric scooters on sidewalks.

When students take to riding scooters on the sidewalks, they get in the way of pedestrians and put everyone at risk. Plus, having a moving vehicle pass by you when walking is a nuisance.

If more bike lanes are added around campus — and if those bike lanes were widened –, riders would no longer have to share the sidewalk with those on foot. This would keep sidewalks safe for everyone and avoid accidents.

The post Better bike lanes mean better student safety appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

Student Government Association Looks for Student Concerns in Services Town Hall Wednesday, Oct 20 2021 

By Petra Stark–

As part of their first SGA Week, the Student Government Association hosted a services town hall, during which they asked students, “What are some issues around campus that you would like to see solved?” Additionally, Services Vice President Eli Cooper explained some of the services and initiatives that he focused on and encouraged attendees to be vocal regarding the changes they want to see.

Cooper began by listing some of the areas that captured most of his attention. His biggest concerns currently are expanding sustainability efforts around campus, expanding gender-inclusive and POC housing options as well as raising visibility for inclusive housing services that U of L already offers, and efforts to make walking around campus safer and more convenient.

Specifically, the areas under his jurisdiction include parking, housing, dining, public safety, sustainability, and facilities on campus. Cooper then opened up the floor to students, in order to gauge what issues are particularly noteworthy among the student body.

The first issue brought up was that the TARC bus’s route to the football stadium doesn’t operate on weekends, making it difficult for students without cars to make it to the games. In response to this, proposed solutions included expanding the Cardinal escort service to ferry students to the games in addition to their already-offered service of providing students with a safe ride around campus after dark.

Unfortunately, because the TARC service is handled by the city of Louisville, this makes any changes to routes or times significantly more difficult to see implemented, since SGA could not simply open a dialogue with U of L’s administration.

A second issue Cooper was presented with deals with the recent safety concerns as a result of crimes committed in apartments on and around U of L’s campus. While the L-Trail ensures students a well-lit route for when they’re out after dark, the trail notably peters out around the Ville Grille and the surrounding residence halls.

The L-Trail is supposed to receive an expansion into necessary areas, but the trail is state-funded, and U of L hasn’t received the funds promised by the state for the much-needed expansion. Cooper assured the concerned student, however, that the recent safety concerns would make the L-Trail expansion a much higher priority issue, and that the residential area around Ville Grille would be designated as an area that is in particular need of better lighting and safety measures.

Thirdly, after requesting any ideas for sustainability efforts students wanted to see on-campus, Cooper was asked what some of the biggest challenges regarding sustainability the university currently faced.

The answer had many components since sustainability includes many different efforts around campus, but some notable issues included expanding composting efforts, designing construction with sustainability certifications in mind, and flooding issues around campus.

Two more concerns raised by students regarding sustainability included lights being on in campus buildings far later than should be necessary, and the amount of trash produced by dining facilities that had no alternative disposal method like recycling or composting. Since dining facilities are handled by Aramark, the introduction of more compostable or recyclable packaging for food would have to be handled by them. They have resisted efforts to implement this change, citing a lack of student interest.

SGA is working to expand student coalitions for these different initiatives, but need students to express these complaints directly, or respond to surveys sent out by the SGA to gauge interest. If students have any other concerns or want to express their desire to see some of these changes enacted, Cooper encouraged them to email him at svp@uoflsga.org. More information about SGA can be found at their LinkTree.

File Graphic//The Louisville Cardinal

The post Student Government Association Looks for Student Concerns in Services Town Hall appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

In Ohio Watershed, Higher Water Lines And More Hazardous Cargo Thursday, Jan 23 2020 

Just before dawn in January 2018, 27 barges were floating like a net along the banks of the Ohio River, downstream of the city of Pittsburgh. Instead of fish, the fleet caught chunks of ice that broke off in the warming, fast-moving waters as it waited for a tow through the nearby Emsworth Locks and Dams.

The area had experienced record rainfall, and the river rose more than 12 feet in about 30 hours. The barges, some loaded with coal and cement, were lashed together with steel cables in a grid-like pattern, then secured to pilings equipped with large metal mooring rings.

Map from NTSB accident report; Photo by U.S. Coast Guard

(left) Location of the Emsworth Locks and Dam. (right) Aerial photo of barges against the Emsworth Locks and Dam after the breakaway on Jan. 13, 2018.

Crews had worked through the night to monitor the cable tension as ice and rising waters caused the lines to tighten. At 6:15 a.m., a towing vessel captain saw sparks.

His vessel and all of the 27 barges began drifting downstream, propelled by the fast current and extreme weight of ice. Unable to control the barges, the towing vessels saved two and let the rest go.

In the first light of day, they reached the Locks and Dams and met their fate. Seven flowed through the open lock gate. Three hit the dams and sank, taking their cargo with them. The rest grounded on the banks of the river or lodged themselves between the dams and the raging river.

Photo by U.S. Coast Guard

(left) Aerial photo of barges against the Emsworth Locks and Dam after the breakaway on Jan. 13, 2018. (right) Barges after striking the Emsworth Dam.

As is typical with marine accidents, no single factor can be blamed. But federal investigators determined the problem that pushed everything over the edge was the weather. The same day, just south of Wheeling, West Virginia, another 27 barges set loose on the Ohio River due to increased rainfall and ice buildup.

Map by Blue Raster

Over the past decade in the Ohio watershed, which encompasses 15 states from southwestern New York to the northeast corner of Mississippi, extreme weather has been cited more and more frequently as a contributing cause in serious marine accidents. At the same time, a KyCIR analysis found that shipping of hazardous materials like crude oil and kerosene are rising.

These issues have ramifications all along the Ohio River, but particularly in Louisville, home to one of the most difficult passages to navigate. As the conditions on the Ohio — and its cargo — become more hazardous, key regulatory organizations struggle to keep up with the growing demands of this water highway.

More Serious Marine Accidents

Inland marine accidents don’t attract as much publicity as accidents on the oceans. Generally, inland vessels are much smaller, and fewer deaths result from single incidents.

But navigating inland waterways can still be a treacherous endeavor, made more hazardous when the river is high. A 2017 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ report estimates that up to 50% more water could be coursing through the Ohio River watershed within this century due to climate change.

Alexandra Kanik | wfpl.org

The Ohio River, during high water level, upstream of downtown Louisville on Feb. 15, 2018.

The river’s rise obscures river banks and changes river beds. It creates currents that can pull vessels off course, or throw debris into mariners’ paths.

KyCIR analyzed federal data from 2010 to 2018 on serious marine accidents, which the U.S. Coast Guard defines as incidents involving death or serious injury, excessive property damage or a discharge of hazardous materials.

Nearly 3,400 marine incidents occurred in a nine-year period in the Ohio watershed. In 2010, about 8% were serious. By 2018, serious incidents accounted for 12%.

Alexandra Kanik | wfpl.org

Incidents citing high waters as a contributing factor are on the rise, data show.

Coast Guard serious incident reports from 2010 to 2015 occasionally cited “high waters” or “fast-moving currents” as contributing factors to the accidents. But these terms began to show up more frequently in accident descriptions starting in 2016, data show.

In one 2018 incident near Louisville, barges loaded with crude oil condensate got stuck on the river bank. The pilot struggled to avoid being overtaken by strong currents.

Liam LaRue, chief of investigations for the Office of Marine Safety at the National Transportation Safety Board [NTSB], said the agency has noticed more and more accidents tied to high rivers.

“We’d get a few accidents a week, and they were all just high-water related,” LaRue said. “That’s definitely something that we’ve seen a lot of.”

NTSB only investigates “major” marine accidents, which involve six or more fatalities, $500,000 of damage or the total loss of a vessel.

LaRue has been with NTSB for 14 years, and he said their normal annual workload is between 30 and 40 major cases nationwide. Last year was a record year for his team, he said: they investigated 52 major marine accidents. Most happened on oceanic routes or at coastal shipping ports. But inland accidents like the Emsworth barge breakaway outside of Pittsburgh make the list because of the costly property damage they leave in their wake.

And these accidents are not uncommon in the Ohio watershed, in part because the Ohio River is so difficult to navigate.

Alexandra Kanik | wfpl.org

Louisville’s section of the Ohio River is one of only 12 places in the country with a Vessel Traffic Service — essentially an escort system to help vessels navigate dangerous or congested stretches of river. It is the only inland traffic service and the only one that operates solely during times of high water.

Louisville’s service was established in 1973 after a series of accidents, such as the February 1972 incident when a barge carrying chlorine gas became lodged in the McAlpine dam, threatening lives and requiring the evacuation of the nearby Portland neighborhood.

Between 2012 and 2016, Louisville’s traffic service was activated for an average of 59 days a year. In the last two years, it was active for 151 days and 130 days, respectively.

More Hazardous Cargo

More than 180 million tons of cargo travel up and down the rivers of the Ohio watershed each year, according to a KyCIR analysis of commodities data from the U.S. Corps of Engineers. The river carries shipments of food, alcohol, fuel, construction supplies and even rocket parts.

More and more, those cargo vessels are carrying non-solid fuels.

Alexandra Kanik | wfpl.org

Kerosene shipments increased 1,372% in 2017 when compared to data from 2000. Crude petroleum shipments increased 675%. By contrast, coal and lignite shipments decreased 35%.

This trend follows the decline of coal and the increase in natural gas production in this region. Less coal is being mined as more companies go bankrupt and coal becomes harder to extract. Power plants are retiring coal generators in favor of natural gas units, which are not only cheaper but cleaner.

Alexandra Kanik | wfpl.org

But the non-solid materials taking their place are more hazardous to ship. When a coal barge sinks, it generally stays in one place, said Sam Dinkins, a technical programs manager at the Ohio River Valley Water and Sanitation Commission, an interstate water quality agency known as ORSANCO. But when an oil or liquid hazardous material spills, things get messier, faster.

“Containment of that release becomes problematic because it’s going to flow with the river downstream,” Dinkins said. “And so it spreads out, along with the river flow.”

In many cases, the liquid can change the composition and quality of the water — water that residents in the watershed ultimately drink.

The Louisville water supply faced a potential disaster in December 2017. A barge holding more than 300,000 gallons of liquid fertilizer broke in half just south of Cincinnati, Ohio, threatening the city’s water supply downstream.

This particular spill wasn’t due to high water, but it illustrates the potential for danger. As thousands of gallons of urea ammonium nitrate drifted downriver toward Louisville, the city’s water authority took action.

“This spill was unique because it wasn’t like an oil spill where you could see it on the river,” Louisville Water Company spokeswoman Kelley Dearing Smith told WFPL in 2017. “The chemical was soluble, so our scientists really had to track the spill … to understand how this plume was moving.”

In this case, rain diluted the contamination, and helped it move swiftly through the city. But less than a month later, the rain would cause the barge breakaways near Pittsburgh and in West Virginia.

Alexandra Kanik

A towing vessel and barges moving through the area monitored by the Louisville Vessel Traffic Service on Dec. 22, 2017.

These inland spills may seem less catastrophic than ocean spills, but they’re more likely to cause harm to the surrounding area, said Lt. Cmdr. Takila Powell, U.S. Coast Guard marine investigations supervisor for the district that includes most of the Ohio watershed.

When you have an oil spill on an inland river, Powell said, water is more shallow and the currents are different than on the ocean. It takes a lot less oil to pose a big threat.

“And plus, there’s a higher chance of impact to the shoreline because you’re on a river and there’s two banks on either side,” Powell said. “So at least one could potentially be impacted.”

What’s Being Done

Government agencies and regulatory bodies say they are working together to improve safety and mitigate harm after accidents occur. But change is slow to come.

For example, Congress passed legislation in 2004 that established mandatory inspections for towing vessels. But mandatory inspections didn’t actually begin until 2018, nearly 14 years later.

But as each year brings more volatile weather than the year before, the agencies say they’re trying to be proactive, rather than reactive.

Only recently did the NTSB begin documenting its accident investigations with an internal database. LaRue said the effort will help provide a “better idea about trending and things like that, and hopefully spot safety issues.”

Such a database, when implemented, could help NTSB create a recommendation report on how to avoid weather-related incidents in the future, but the NTSB still lacks enforcement power. Even if its investigators identify safety protocols that could help mariners deal with extreme weather, it would be up to the Coast Guard to implement them.

Alexandra Kanik | wfpl.org

The Ohio River, at normal water level, upstream of downtown Louisville on Dec. 27, 2017.

Currently, the Coast Guard maintains and operates regional plans that help mariners respond to hazards such as high water or inclement weather on specific stretches of river.

Powell said that during times of high water, the Coast Guard subsectors hold conference calls to discuss river levels, vessel restrictions and weather and river forecasts.

Those forecasts are available for mariners from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association [NOAA], which uses various data points about rainfall and terrain to predict how waterways will react to extreme weather up to 10 days ahead of time.

“That gives them the opportunity to make decisions that are going to help them navigate the rivers safely if the water is coming up quickly,” said Trent Schade, hydrologist in charge of NOAA’s Ohio River Forecast Center. “They have an opportunity to move their boat into a safe harbor.”

But these forecasts give only a short lead on the future of the river. Both the Coast Guard and NOAA say they aren’t focused right now on climate change’s long-term impacts on river safety. When it comes to next year or the next 10 years, the state of the water is much murkier.

Caitlin McGlade contributed to this report.

Good River: Stories of the Ohio is a series about the environment, economy, and culture of the Ohio River watershed, produced by seven nonprofit newsrooms. To see more, please visit ohiowatershed.org.

In Ohio Watershed, Higher Water Lines And More Hazardous Cargo Thursday, Jan 23 2020 

Photos by U.S. Coast Guard

(left) Aerial photo of barges against the Emsworth Locks and Dam after the breakaway on Jan. 13, 2018. (right) Barges after striking the Emsworth Dam.

Just before dawn in January 2018, 27 barges were floating like a net along the banks of the Ohio River, downstream of the city of Pittsburgh. Instead of fish, the fleet caught chunks of ice that broke off in the warming, fast-moving waters as it waited for a tow through the nearby Emsworth Locks and Dams.

The area had experienced record rainfall, and the river rose more than 12 feet in about 30 hours. The barges, some loaded with coal and cement, were lashed together with steel cables in a grid-like pattern, then secured to pilings equipped with large metal mooring rings.

Map from NTSB accident report; Photo by U.S. Coast Guard

(left) Location of the Emsworth Locks and Dam. (right) Aerial photo of barges against the Emsworth Locks and Dam after the breakaway on Jan. 13, 2018.

Crews had worked through the night to monitor the cable tension as ice and rising waters caused the lines to tighten. At 6:15 a.m., a towing vessel captain saw sparks.

His vessel and all of the 27 barges began drifting downstream, propelled by the fast current and extreme weight of ice. Unable to control the barges, the towing vessels saved two and let the rest go.

In the first light of day, they reached the Locks and Dams and met their fate. Seven flowed through the open lock gate. Three hit the dams and sank, taking their cargo with them. The rest grounded on the banks of the river or lodged themselves between the dams and the raging river.

As is typical with marine accidents, no single factor can be blamed. But federal investigators determined the problem that pushed everything over the edge was the weather. The same day, just south of Wheeling, West Virginia, another 27 barges set loose on the Ohio River due to increased rainfall and ice buildup.

Map by Blue Raster

Over the past decade in the Ohio watershed, which encompasses 15 states from southwestern New York to the northeast corner of Mississippi, extreme weather has been cited more and more frequently as a contributing cause in serious marine accidents. At the same time, a KyCIR analysis found that shipping of hazardous materials like crude oil and kerosene are rising.

These issues have ramifications all along the Ohio River, but particularly in Louisville, home to one of the most difficult passages to navigate. As the conditions on the Ohio — and its cargo —  become more hazardous, key regulatory organizations struggle to keep up with the growing demands of this water highway.

More serious marine accidents

Inland marine accidents don’t attract as much publicity as accidents on the oceans. Generally, inland vessels are much smaller, and fewer deaths result from single incidents.

But navigating inland waterways can still be a treacherous endeavour, made more hazardous when the river is high. A 2017 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ report estimates that up to 50% more water could be coursing through the Ohio River watershed within this century due to climate change.

Alexandra Kanik

The Ohio River, during high water level, upstream of downtown Louisville on Feb. 15, 2018.

The river’s rise obscures river banks and changes river beds. It creates currents that can pull vessels off course, or throw debris into mariners’ paths.

KyCIR analyzed federal data from 2010 to 2018 on serious marine accidents, which the U.S. Coast Guard defines as incidents involving death or serious injury, excessive property damage or a discharge of hazardous materials.

Nearly 3,400 marine incidents occurred in a nine-year period in the Ohio watershed. In 2010, about 8% were serious. By 2018, serious incidents accounted for 12%.

Alexandra Kanik

Incidents citing high waters as a contributing factor are on the rise, data show.

Coast Guard serious incident reports from 2010 to 2015 occasionally cited “high waters” or “fast-moving currents” as contributing factors to the accidents. But these terms began to show up more frequently in accident descriptions starting in 2016, data show.

In one 2018 incident near Louisville, barges loaded with crude oil condensate got stuck on the river bank. The pilot struggled to avoid being overtaken by strong currents.

Liam LaRue, chief of investigations for the Office of Marine Safety at the National Transportation Safety Board [NTSB], said the agency has noticed more and more accidents tied to high rivers.

“We’d get a few accidents a week, and they were all just high-water related,” LaRue said. “That’s definitely something that we’ve seen a lot of.”

NTSB only investigates “major” marine accidents, which involve six or more fatalities, $500,000 of damage or the total loss of a vessel.

LaRue has been with NTSB for 14 years, and he said their normal annual workload is between 30 and 40 major cases nationwide. Last year was a record year for his team, he said: they investigated 52 major marine accidents. Most happened on oceanic routes or at coastal shipping ports. But inland accidents like the Emsworth barge breakaway outside of Pittsburgh make the list because of the costly property damage they leave in their wake.

And these accidents are not uncommon in the Ohio watershed, in part because the Ohio River is so difficult to navigate.

Alexandra Kanik

Louisville’s section of the Ohio River is one of only 12 places in the country with a Vessel Traffic Service — essentially an escort system to help vessels navigate dangerous or congested stretches of river. It is the only inland traffic service and the only one that operates solely during times of high water.

Louisville’s service was established in 1973 after a series of accidents, such as the February 1972 incident when a barge carrying chlorine gas became lodged in the McAlpine dam, threatening lives and requiring the evacuation of the nearby Portland neighborhood.

Between 2012 and 2016, Louisville’s traffic service was activated for an average of 59 days a year. In the last two years, it was active for 151 days and 130 days, respectively.

More hazardous cargo

More than 180 million tons of cargo travel up and down the rivers of the Ohio watershed each year, according to a KyCIR analysis of commodities data from the U.S. Corps of Engineers. The river carries shipments of food, alcohol, fuel, construction supplies and even rocket parts.

More and more, those cargo vessels are carrying non-solid fuels.

Alexandra Kanik

Kerosene shipments increased 1,372% in 2017 when compared to data from 2000. Crude petroleum shipments increased 675%. By contrast, coal and lignite shipments decreased 35%.

This trend follows the decline of coal and the increase in natural gas production in this region. Less coal is being mined as more companies go bankrupt and coal becomes harder to extract. Power plants are retiring coal generators in favor of natural gas units, which are not only cheaper but cleaner.

Alexandra Kanik

But the non-solid materials taking their place are more hazardous to ship. When a coal barge sinks, it generally stays in one place, said Sam Dinkins, a technical programs manager at the Ohio River Valley Water and Sanitation Commission, an interstate water quality agency known as ORSANCO. But when an oil or liquid hazardous material spills, things get messier, faster.

“Containment of that release becomes problematic because it’s going to flow with the river downstream,” Dinkins said. “And so it spreads out, along with the river flow.”

In many cases, the liquid can change the composition and quality of the water — water that residents in the watershed ultimately drink.

The Louisville water supply faced a potential disaster in December 2017. A barge holding more than 300,000 gallons of liquid fertilizer broke in half just south of Cincinnati, Ohio, threatening the city’s water supply downstream.

This particular spill wasn’t due to high water, but it illustrates the potential for danger. As thousands of gallons of urea ammonium nitrate drifted downriver toward Louisville, the city’s water authority took action.

“This spill was unique because it wasn’t like an oil spill where you could see it on the river,” Louisville Water Company spokeswoman Kelley Dearing Smith told WFPL in 2017. “The chemical was soluble, so our scientists really had to track the spill … to understand how this plume was moving.”

In this case, rain diluted the contamination, and helped it move swiftly through the city. But less than a month later, the rain would cause the barge breakaways near Pittsburgh and in West Virginia.

Alexandra Kanik

A towing vessel and barges moving through the area monitored by the Louisville Vessel Traffic Service on Dec. 22, 2017.

These inland spills may seem less catastrophic than ocean spills, but they’re more likely to cause harm to the surrounding area, said Lt. Cmdr. Takila Powell, U.S. Coast Guard marine investigations supervisor for the district that includes most of the Ohio watershed.

When you have an oil spill on an inland river, Powell said, water is more shallow and the currents are different than on the ocean. It takes a lot less oil to pose a big threat.

“And plus, there’s a higher chance of impact to the shoreline because you’re on a river and there’s two banks on either side,” Powell said. “So at least one could potentially be impacted.”

What’s being done

Government agencies and regulatory bodies say they are working together to improve safety and mitigate harm after accidents occur. But change is slow to come.

For example, Congress passed legislation in 2004 that established mandatory inspections for towing vessels. But mandatory inspections didn’t actually begin until 2018, nearly 14 years later.

But as each year brings more volatile weather than the year before, the agencies say they’re trying to be proactive, rather than reactive.

Only recently did the NTSB begin documenting its accident investigations with an internal database. LaRue said the effort will help provide a “better idea about trending and things like that, and hopefully spot safety issues.”

Such a database, when implemented, could help NTSB create a recommendation report on how to avoid weather-related incidents in the future, but the NTSB still lacks enforcement power. Even if its investigators identify safety protocols that could help mariners deal with extreme weather, it would be up to the Coast Guard to implement them.

Alexandra Kanik

The Ohio River, at normal water level, upstream of downtown Louisville on Dec. 27, 2017.

Currently, the Coast Guard maintains and operates regional plans that help mariners respond to hazards such as high water or inclement weather on specific stretches of river.

Powell said that during times of high water, the Coast Guard subsectors hold conference calls to discuss river levels, vessel restrictions and weather and river forecasts.

Those forecasts are available for mariners from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association [NOAA], which uses various data points about rainfall and terrain to predict how waterways will react to extreme weather up to 10 days ahead of time.

“That gives them the opportunity to make decisions that are going to help them navigate the rivers safely if the water is coming up quickly,” said Trent Schade, hydrologist in charge of NOAA’s Ohio River Forecast Center. “They have an opportunity to move their boat into a safe harbor.”

But these forecasts give only a short lead on the future of the river. Both the Coast Guard and NOAA say they aren’t focused right now on climate change’s long-term impacts on river safety. When it comes to next year or the next 10 years, the state of the water is much murkier.

Caitlin McGlade contributed to this report.

Good River: Stories of the Ohio is a series about the environment, economy, and culture of the Ohio River watershed, produced by seven nonprofit newsrooms. To see more, please visit ohiowatershed.org.

The post In Ohio Watershed, Higher Water Lines And More Hazardous Cargo appeared first on Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.

ARC Awards Grant To Help Pave Road To Addiction Recovery Wednesday, Jul 31 2019 

The Appalachian Regional Commission has awarded a major grant to what it calls an innovative pilot program for a region hit hard by the addiction crisis. The goal is to help people struggling with addiction get on the road to treatment, recovery, and – ultimately – employment.

People with substance use disorders can have trouble getting to addiction treatment, long-term recovery programs, and job opportunities if they don’t have access to reliable transportation, especially in rural areas.

ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas was in Huntington, West Virginia, Tuesday to announce a grant of more than $215,000 to a pilot program to connect these people with rides to important appointments.

“This is a big barrier to recovery for those that have begun that journey,” ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas said. “We’ve got to remove barriers like this.”

The ARC recently went on a listening tour around Appalachia to learn about the barriers to addiction treatment and long-term recovery. The lack of reliable transportation came up at each stop.

Mobility Advisors

The Appalachian Transportation Institute at Marshall University and the Community Transportation Association of America will work with key partners to implement the program. 

Three of the main components of the program are expanding mobility options, subsidizing rides, and training local addiction treatment providers to be mobility advisors.

“They’re going to sit down with each person that they’re working with and instead of just saying ‘Okay, here’s your next appointment. We’ll see you there.’ They’re going to say, ‘Your next appointment is in two weeks, let’s get you a ride scheduled so we’ll see you there,’” Appalachian Transportation Institute Director of Marketing Tricia Ball said.

The rides will not be limited to treatment or recovery services. It will include transportation to legal appointments, education programs, and job opportunities.

The ultimate goal is to help these people return to the workforce and contribute to the ARC’s mission of economic development.

The infrastructure of the program is still being developed, but it will involve mobility advisors coordinating with community volunteer driver programs, public transportation and the ride-hailing company Lyft, depending on where the person is located.

Most of the ARC’s grant will be used to subsidize rides, according to Ball.

Data Driven

Another major component of the program is collecting data and documenting both the successes and challenges.

The ARC is interested in gathering this data in hopes that it could help develop more programs across Appalachia.

“We want to see what works,” Thomas said. “What subject set of individuals seem to be the ones to benefit most from this type of service? What aspects of the service maybe don’t turn out to be productive? We need to know both of these things.” 

Thomas said Huntington is an appropriate location to experiment with this innovative program, given the proactive approach the city has taken.

Huntington had some of the nation’s highest rates of fatal drug overdoses during the height of the opioid crisis, drawing national attention in 2016 when it responded to 26 overdoses in just four hours.

The city since then has implemented a number of evidence-based strategies that seem to have found early success. Fatal overdose numbers dropped from 174 to 64 over the course of one year, according to city data.

“Often times people will come into Huntington … and will try to say that we are in the community that is the epicenter of the epidemic, or the epicenter of the problem,” Mayor Steve Williams said. “We like to say that we’re the epicenter of the solution, a ‘City of Solutions.’”

The pilot program is scheduled to begin sometime later this year and last 12 months.

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