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East Palestine Update - 2/27/23

(EAST PALESTINE, Ohio)—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.

Sediment Washing

The process of sediment washing has begun in both Sulphur Run and Leslie Run.

Much of the contamination remaining in these waterways is attached to the sediment in the creek beds, which is why contaminants can be seen rising to the surface of the water when the ground beneath the water is disturbed. 

A private contractor has finished the first round of sediment washing, and the second round  started today. The process involves disturbing the sediment to release the contaminants to the surface of the water, and the contaminants are then removed from the water by vacuum trucks.

Additional rounds of sediment washing may take place in the future. 

Contaminated Waste Removal

Following a one-day pause of waste removal ordered by the U.S. EPA, Norfolk Southern has resumed removing contaminated soil and liquid from the train derailment site. The U.S. EPA today also identified Ross Incineration Services in Grafton, Ohio, and Heritage Environmental Services in Roachdale, Indiana, as licensed hazardous waste disposal facilities that can take contaminated waste from the derailment site.

Solid Waste

According to the Ohio EPA, approximately 4,832 cubic yards of contaminated soil have been collected from the derailment site. This number is an estimate based on visual surveys of the collected soil. A more precise number is calculated at the time the soil is weighed for disposal.

Of the contaminated soil removed from the site:

  • Approximately 280 tons of contaminated soil have been disposed of at U.S. Ecology Wayne Disposal, a licensed hazardous waste disposal facility in Michigan. This disposal occurred prior to the U.S. EPA's pause on waste disposal.
  • Two 28-cubic-yard boxes of contaminated soil are being sent today to Heritage Thermal Services, a licensed hazardous waste disposal facility in East Liverpool, Ohio.

Additional contaminated soil at the derailment site will be collected when the process to remove the rails begins.

Liquid Waste

According to the Ohio EPA, approximately 1.8 million gallons of liquid waste have been collected from the derailment site. The calculation of 1.8 million gallons has been revised from Friday’s previous estimate of over 2 million gallons collected. Liquid waste amounts are estimates until they are weighed during the disposal process. The revised number of 1.8 million gallons reflects the actual amount of liquid waste hauled away from the derailment site, plus a revised estimate of the amount of collected liquid waste that has not yet been transported for disposal.

Of the liquid waste removed from the site:

  • Approximately 1.249 million gallons were disposed of at Texas Molecular, a licensed solid waste disposal facility in Texas. This disposal took place prior to the U.S. EPA's pause on waste disposal.
  • Approximately 319,002 gallons were disposed of at U.S. Ecology Romulus, a licensed solid waste disposal facility in Michigan. This disposal took place prior to the U.S. EPA's pause on waste disposal.
  • Approximately 94,372 gallons were disposed of at Vickery Environmental, a licensed solid waste disposal facility in Vickery, Ohio. This total includes liquid disposed of both before and after the U.S. EPA's pause on waste disposal. 

More contaminated liquid will be collected as the cleanup process progresses.

Private Well Sampling

A second set of testing results from private water wells in the area of East Palestine showed no harmful levels of contaminants.

The Columbiana County Health District on Monday received verified laboratory results from seven private water systems. Three wells showed no detectable contaminants. Four wells had trace detections of contaminants at levels well below safe drinking-water standards. There is no evidence that those trace detections are linked to the train derailment.

In total, 126 private water wells in Ohio have been tested, and results have been returned for 19 of those wells, none of which showed evidence of contaminants linked to the train derailment.

Residents near East Palestine who would like their private water systems sampled should call 330-849-3919. As test results are returned, they will be posted at columbiana-health.org/resources/.

Air Monitoring

The U.S. EPA reported that they have conducted indoor air testing at a total of 578 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. 

Wild Animal Necropsies - Final Results

Final necropsy results for four deceased wild animals from the East Palestine area show no findings to support chemical toxicity as a cause of death. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources brought the animals to the Ohio Department of Agriculture's Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory on February 21, 2023.

Coping with Trauma

According to the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, traumatic events, such as the train derailment, can cause intense stress, anxiety, and worry, especially in the first several weeks following the event.

Local certified professionals are onsite at the East Palestine Mobile Health Clinic and are ready to assist anyone who has questions or concerns.  In addition, any resident can call the Ohio CareLine at 1-800-720-9616 at any time of day for free, confidential, emotional support from a trained professional.

For more information about local behavioral health resources and providers, contact the Columbiana County Mental Health & Recovery Services Board at https://www.ccmhrsb.org/

Business Support

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 email businesshelp@development.ohio.gov for more information. 

Health Assessment Clinic

Hours for the Ohio Department of Health’s Health Assessment Clinic in East Palestine this week are:

Tuesday
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Wednesday-Thursday
12 p.m. 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. 


For more information and previous updates, visit ema.ohio.gov/eastpalestine.