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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lyons

East Palestine Update - 3/6/23






(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.


Track & Soil Removal


Ohio EPA continues to oversee the soil excavation from beneath the tracks at the site of the train derailment. Nineteen hundred feet of rail in one direction has been fully removed, and approximately one half of contaminated soil from beneath the removed line has been excavated. Once contaminated soil is removed, samples of the top layer of soil that remains in the ground are taken and tested by U.S. EPA to ensure that contractors have dug deep enough to remove all hazardous materials. Excavated soil is being stored onsite in a specially lined waste containment area until it can be hauled offsite to a hazardous waste facility.


Soil Removal Odor - Resources Available


Residents in and around the area may notice a smell from the derailment site as contractors excavate contaminated soil from underneath the railroad tracks. The U.S. EPA continues to monitor the air in the community and has also conducted air monitoring tests near the soil excavation area. Although there were no sustained exceedances above health screening levels, some of the contaminants in the soil have a low odor threshold, which means that these contaminants can be smelled at levels much lower than what is considered hazardous.


As a reminder, Norfolk Southern has agreed to provide additional financial assistance to residents of the East Palestine area within a mile of the derailment site. This assistance may include temporary lodging, travel, food, clothing, and other necessities. Residents should call 800-230-7049 (open 24 hours) or visit the Family Assistance Center at Abundant Life Church in New Waterford, Ohio, for more information. Residents can also contact the U.S. EPA at 866-361-0526 for additional guidance about available resources.


Hazardous Waste Removal


According to the Ohio EPA, approximately 3.2 million gallons of liquid wastewater have been hauled out of East Palestine in total.


Approximately 230,000 gallons have been shipped to Vickery Environmental in Vickery, Ohio, to be disposed of through deep well injection.

Approximately 2.7 million gallons have been shipped to Texas Molecular in Deer Park, Texas, to be disposed of through deep well injection.

Approximately 320,000 gallons have been hauled to Detroit Industrial Well in Romulus, Michigan to be disposed of through deep well injection.


The Ohio EPA reports that approximately 2,070 tons of solid waste have also left the derailment site.


Approximately 290 tons have been hauled to Ross Incineration Services in Grafton, Ohio, to be incinerated.

Approximately 900 tons have been hauled to Heritage Thermal Services in East Liverpool, Ohio, to be incinerated.

Approximately 440 tons have been shipped to U.S. Ecology Wayne Disposal in Belleville, Michigan, to be placed in a landfill.

Approximately 440 tons have been hauled to Heritage Environmental Services in North Roachdale, Indiana to be placed in a landfill.


FEMA Letter


On Friday, Governor DeWine submitted a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency requesting a 120-day extension to submit a request for a major disaster declaration.



Governor DeWine announced his intent to file for the extension on February 17, 2023, after determining that the East Palestine disaster did not qualify for traditional FEMA aid. This extension would ensure that East Palestine can receive assistance from FEMA should the derailment qualify for traditional FEMA aid in the future.


Agriculture Meeting


Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) Director Brian Baldridge visited East Palestine today to meet with federal, state, and local agricultural partners to discuss farmer impact following the train derailment. Today’s visit comes ahead of a roundtable discussion that will take place later in the week with East Palestine area farmers to address concerns about the upcoming planting season. The meeting will be held on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church Education Building in Salem, Ohio. ODA currently has no reason to believe that crops planted in soil in the area of East Palestine are not safe for consumption.


Ohio Department of Natural Resources


Wildlife officers from ODNR continue to monitor the streams in the East Palestine area impacted by the train derailment. In the initial spill, ODNR estimates approximately 38,222 minnows, ranging in size between 1 and 3 inches, were killed. ODNR also estimated the total number of other aquatic life killed as a result of the derailment, including fish, crayfish, amphibians, and macroinvertebrates to be approximately 5,500.


Other than this aquatic life, eleven deceased animals have been submitted to the Ohio Department of Agriculture's Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory for evaluation to determine if their deaths were related to the chemical spill. Final necropsy results on a beef calf, three birds, and an opossum show no evidence of chemical toxicity as a cause of death. Preliminary results connected to the deaths of four raccoons, one muskrat, and one snapping turtle show no evidence of chemical toxicity as a cause of death.


Private Well Testing


Water sample results from private water systems of East Palestine area homes continue to show no harmful levels of contaminants.


The Ohio Department of Health, working with the Columbiana County Health District, had received verified laboratory results from 14 additional samples from private water systems as of noon Monday. Five of those wells showed no detectable contaminants. Nine wells had trace detections at levels well below safe drinking-water standards. There is no evidence that any of those trace detections are linked to the train derailment.


In total, 170 private systems have been sampled. Of those, test results from 71 samples have been verified, and none have shown any harmful contaminant levels associated with the derailment.


The results can be found on the Columbiana County Health Department site at https://www.columbiana-health.org/resources/.


Residents near East Palestine who would like their private water system sampled should call 330-849-3919.


Health Assessment Clinic


The Ohio Department of Health’s Health Assessment Clinic in East Palestine now is operating on a walk-in basis. Residents should arrive at least an hour before closing to ensure there is enough time to be served.


This week's clinic hours are:


Monday - Tuesday: Noon to 6 p.m.


Wednesday: Noon to 8 p.m.


Thursday: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


The clinic is located at the First Church of Christ, 20 West Martin St. For information, call the Columbiana County Health District at 330-424-0272.


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/.

More Information and Previous Updates: ema.ohio.gov/eastpalestine

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