The alcohol plume makes its way down the Kentucky River.
The alcohol plume makes its way down the Kentucky River in Franklin County. The plume is a result of the Jim Beam warehouse fire in Woodford County on July 3. | Photo courtesy the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Facebook page

By Hannah Brown | The State Journal

A 23-mile alcohol plume on the Kentucky River — a result of spills from a fire at a Jim Beam warehouse — made its way out of Franklin County Sunday afternoon, Franklin County Emergency Management Director Tommy Russell said.

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet reported in a news release that the leading edge of the plume is between Owenton and Carrollton and should reach the Ohio River early Monday.

Once it reaches the Ohio River, officials expect it to dissipate quickly. There could be some impact on aquatic life immediately where the two rivers meet.

The alcohol plume is a result of spills from a late-night fire Tuesday at the Jim Beam warehouse on the Woodford-Franklin County line. The fire destroyed about 45,000 barrels of young Jim Beam bourbon, and debris from the fire went into nearby Glenns Creek and then into the Kentucky River. Lowered oxygen levels are leading to fish kills, officials said.

Russell said the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continue to test water quality levels in Franklin County. He said the dissolved oxygen levels are back in a normal range.

“The levels have been rebounding good (in Franklin County) behind the plume,” he said. “The dead fish are now in Owen and Carroll counties, mainly between lock and dam No. 2 and No. 3, which are about 30 miles down river from Frankfort.”

The Energy and Environment Cabinet said the fire at the Jim Beam warehouse in Woodford County is completely out and there is very limited impact on Glenns Creek from the facility. The on-site stormwater drainage system is being evaluated in an attempt to recover any product or impacted water that may remain within the system. Cleanup at the warehouse site continues.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife was on the river again Sunday to continue wildlife assessments and a fish kill count. Results are pending.

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