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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lyons

East Palestine Update - 3/8/23



(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.


Surface Water Dashboard


Ohio EPA today launched a new public dashboard to report surface water testing results from samples collected in area creeks and rivers.


The dashboard highlights the 20 surface water sampling locations along Sulphur Run, Leslie Run, Little Beaver Creek, North Fork Little Beaver Creek, and the Ohio River. Test results include readings for vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, 2-ethylhexyl acrylate, benzene, and 2-butoxyethanol.


NEW:




According to the Ohio EPA, surface water testing results generally vary between minimum chemical detections and declining contaminant levels, but residents should continue to avoid contact with the contaminated water in the derailment area near Sulphur Run.


Surface water from the aforementioned bodies of water is not the source of drinking water for municipal or private wells in the East Palestine area. Human consumption of any untreated surface water from creeks and rivers is strongly discouraged.


Health Assessment Survey Update


Headache, anxiety, coughing, fatigue/tiredness and irritation, pain, and burning of the skin continue to be the most common symptoms reported by residents in the East Palestine area who have completed an After Chemical Exposure (ACE) survey.


Ohio Department of Health Director Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA released the initial results of these surveys last week when 168 had been completed. As of the end of day March 6, a total of 320 surveys had been completed, and the top five symptoms had not changed.


Residents complete the surveys either at the East Palestine Health Assessment Clinic operated by the Ohio Department of Health and the Columbiana County Health District or through door-to-door visits conducted by representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.



Health Assessment Chart


The median age of respondents is 58 and most participants are over the age of 18 (95%).


Health Department officials use the information provided to better understand how the derailment incident may be impacting residents and determine appropriate public health response.


Major Disaster Declaration Time Extension


Last week, Governor DeWine requested that FEMA issue a 120-day time extension for Ohio to request a major disaster declaration for damages occurring as a result of the East Palestine train derailment. FEMA has now approved the request. The extension will run until July 3, 2023, and will allow more time for the State of Ohio to properly assess the impacts of the incident.




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 will help ensure that East Palestine can receive assistance from FEMA should the derailment qualify for traditional FEMA aid in the future.


Hazardous Waste Removal


According to the Ohio EPA, approximately 3.96 million gallons of liquid wastewater have been hauled out of East Palestine in total.


Approximately 282,000 gallons have been shipped to Vickery Environmental in Vickery, Ohio, to be disposed of through deep well injection.


Approximately 3.36 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 2,860 tons of solid waste have also left the derailment site.


Approximately 400 tons have been hauled to Ross Incineration Services in Grafton, Ohio, to be incinerated.


Approximately 1,270 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 750 tons have been hauled to Heritage Environmental Services in North Roachdale, Indiana, to be placed in a landfill.


First Responder Training Center


Earlier today, Governor DeWine announced that the Norfolk Southern Corporation has agreed to his request that the railroad improve and expand firefighter training by creating a new first responder training center and expanding its Operation Awareness & Response (OAR) program, which travels the company’s 22-state network to train first responders on how to respond safely to rail incidents.



Meeting with Farmers


Although the Ohio Department of Agriculture currently has no reason to believe that crops planted in soil in the area of East Palestine are not safe for consumption, the agency will host a roundtable discussion with East Palestine area farmers on Thursday afternoon to discuss concerns about the upcoming planting season.


Those attending include the Columbiana County Soil and Water Conservation District, Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio State University (OSU) Extension, OSU College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, Ohio EPA, U.S. EPA, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency, USDA Rural Development, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other local officials.


Members of the media that plan to attend the event must RSVP to Meghan.Harshbarger@agri.ohio.gov.


Date:

Thursday, March 9, 2023


Time:

2:00 p.m.


Location:

Emmanuel Lutheran Church Education Building

251 S. Broadway Ave.

Salem, Ohio.


Health Assessment Clinic


The Ohio Department of Health’s Health Assessment Clinic in East Palestine, operating in partnership with the Columbiana County Health District, 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.


Clinic hours for the remainder of the week are:


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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