River Facts

The Ohio River at a Glance

• Nonpoint source pollution from urban runoff, agricultural activities, and abandoned mines is a major cause of water pollution in the Ohio River.

• The widest point along the Ohio River is approximately 1 mile at the Smithland Dam near Smithland, KY.

• The average depth of the Ohio River is approximately 24 feet.

• Approximately 160 species of fish have been collected from the Ohio River.

• More than 25 million people, 10% of the U.S. population, live in the Ohio River Basin.

• The Ohio River is a source of drinking water for more than five million people.

• The Ohio River is 981 miles (1582 km) long, starting at the confluence of the Allegheny and the Monongahela Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and ending in Cairo, Illinois, where it flows into the Mississippi River.

• The Ohio River flows through or borders six states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

• There are 20 locks and dams on the Ohio River for flood control and navigation.

• There are 38 electric power generating facilities on the Ohio River.

• More than 220 million tons of cargo are transported on the Ohio River each year, with coal being the most commonly transported product.

• The Ohio River drainage basin covered 205,000 square miles, equal to approximately 5% of the United States mainland.