EAST PALESTINE — The following are updates from the State of Ohio regarding remediation work at the site of the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
Contaminated Waste Removal
The removal of hazardous waste from the derailment site has been paused by the U.S. EPA.
In an update to the public on Thursday, the state provided information that Norfolk Southern had chosen to contract with licensed hazardous waste treatment and disposal facilities in Texas and Michigan for the disposal of hazardous waste from the derailment.
According to the U.S. EPA, the U.S. EPA ordered the transport be stopped so that additional oversight measures could be put in place to supervise where Norfolk Southern disposes of the contaminated materials.
Of the 20 truckloads (approximately 280 tons) of hazardous solid waste hauled away from the derailment site, 15 truckloads of contaminated soil had already been disposed of at the licensed hazardous waste treatment and disposal facility in Michigan. Five truckloads of contaminated soil were returned to East Palestine.
The licensed hazardous waste treatment and disposal facility in Texas will dispose of liquid waste that has already been trucked out of East Palestine, but no additional liquid waste will be accepted at the Texas facility at this time.
Currently, about 102,000 gallons of liquid waste and 4,500 cubic yards of solid waste remain in storage on site in East Palestine, not including the five truckloads returned to the village. Additional solid and liquid wastes are being generated as the cleanup progresses.
In all circumstances involving hazardous waste in the United States, the waste must be disposed of at a licensed hazardous waste treatment and disposal facility. All licensed treatment and disposal facilities must meet the requirements of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s hazardous waste permitting program, which ensures the safe management of hazardous waste in a manner that protects public health and the environment. Both the Texas and Michigan facilities are licensed.
New Water Monitoring Wells
Out of an abundance of caution, Ohio EPA is conducting additional sampling of the groundwater near East Palestine’s municipal water supply. Although it is not believed that contaminants from the derailment will spread to the municipal water wells, four monitoring wells have been installed to monitor groundwater between Leslie Run and the village’s wellfield.
Testing the water in these wells will allow for any potential contaminants to be discovered before they reach the village’s municipal water wells. Both the Ohio EPA and a private contractor are conducting this sampling and will send the samples to separate laboratories. Sampling will take place once a week, and results are expected within seven days.
VIDEO: Water sampling in new monitoring wells: Follow this link.
Private Well Sampling
The first water sample results from private water systems of East Palestine area homes showed no harmful levels of contaminants associated with the train derailment.
The Columbiana County Health Department on Friday received verified laboratory results from 12 private water systems that were sampled between Feb. 10 and 14.
Of those 12 systems sampled, eight samples showed no detectable contaminants. Three sample results had trace detections at levels well below safe drinking water standards. At this time, there is no evidence that links these trace detections to the derailment.
One system had elevated levels of disinfection byproducts, which resulted from the resident’s well maintenance practices. No harmful levels of derailment-associated contaminants were found. The resident was advised not to drink their water until the system could be flushed and re-sampled.
More information on these results can be found at columbiana-health.org/resources/
Residents of all 12 homes accepted the county health department’s offer to have their private water systems re-sampled. The re-sampling schedule has not yet been determined.
In total, 119 private wells have been tested in the impacted area of the derailment. Residents near East Palestine who would like their private water system sampled should call 330-849-3919.
The U.S. EPA reported that they have conducted indoor air testing at a total of 574 homes. No contaminants associated with the derailment were detected. Those living in East Palestine who have not yet requested free air sampling can call 330-849-3919. Outdoor air monitoring is ongoing with 15 air monitors in the area. These monitors have not detected contaminants associated with the derailment.
The Ohio Department of Development has a number of programs to support small businesses in Ohio. Businesses impacted by the train derailment are encouraged to visit businesshelp.ohio.gov for more information.
Health Assessment Clinic
Hours for the Ohio Department of Health’s Health Assessment Clinic in East Palestine next week are:
Monday-Tuesday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Wednesday-Thursday: Noon to 5 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Ohioans will not be called by Ohio Department of Health employees to complete a health assessment. If you receive a call, do not give the caller personal information.
The Health Assessment Clinic is located at the First Church of Christ, 20 West Martin St. The numbers to call to make appointments are 234-564-7755 or 234-564-7888.
More information and previous updates are available at ema.ohio.gov/eastpalestine.