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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lyons

East Palestine Update - 3/9/23

(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.

Anne Vogel Testimony

This morning, Ohio EPA Director Anne Vogel testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works regarding the State of Ohio's response to the East Palestine train derailment.

TESTIMONY: Director Anne Vogel, Ohio EPA

FULL HEARING: Protecting Public Health and the Environment in the Wake of the Norfolk Southern Train Derailment and Chemical Release in East Palestine, Ohio

Farming / Soil Sampling

Farmers attended a roundtable discussion hosted by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) this afternoon in Salem, Ohio. The event focused on the upcoming planting season and addressed concerns about potential agricultural impacts caused by the train derailment.

ODA announced that it is currently working with The Ohio State University and agricultural partners in Columbiana County to develop a plan for the testing of milk, eggs, and plant materials.

The U.S. EPA will also oversee the process by independent contractors to begin collecting soil samples in the locations most likely to have been impacted by the derailment. This includes agricultural, residential, commercial, and recreational properties in both Ohio and Pennsylvania. The U.S. EPA will also take soil samples to confirm the accuracy of the independent contractor's results.

Ohio Department of Agriculture meeting with area farmers.

Sulphur Run Culvert Cleaning

Independent contractors today conducted high-pressure washing in underground culverts off of Sulphur Run. The pressurized washing process removes contaminated sediment in the culverts that is contributing to indoor air odors in some area homes and businesses.

Residents in and around the area may also notice a smell from the derailment site as contractors excavate contaminated soil from underneath the railroad tracks. Norfolk Southern continues to offer temporary lodging assistance for residents of the East Palestine area within a mile of the derailment site. The relocation offer is voluntary and is being provided as an option for residents who may feel more comfortable staying elsewhere as the track work progresses. Residents can get more information by calling (800) 230-7049 or by visiting the Family Assistance Center at Abundant Life Church in New Waterford, Ohio.

Aquatic Life in Derailment Area

Wildlife officers from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) continue to monitor creeks and streams in the East Palestine area impacted by the train derailment. Officers are surveying the water daily for signs of aquatic life. They have observed fish in Bull Run and Little Beaver Creek. ODNR has also received reports of live fish in Leslie Run.

VIDEO: ODNR Aquatic Life Monitoring

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.

Hazardous Waste Removal

According to the Ohio EPA, approximately 4.39 million gallons of liquid wastewater have been hauled out of East Palestine in total.

Approximately 322,000 gallons have been shipped to Vickery Environmental in Vickery, Ohio, to be disposed of through deep well injection.

Approximately 3.75 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 2,880 tons of solid waste have also left the derailment site.

Approximately 420 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.

Medical Provider Webinar

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) conducted educational webinars Tuesday and Wednesday to help providers who are serving the East Palestine area address the health concerns of residents.

Presenters from ODH were Medical Director John Weigand, MD, CMD; Chief of the Bureau of Environmental Health and Radiation Protection Gene Phillips; State Epidemiologist Kristen Dickerson, Ph.D., MSN, MPH, RN, MLT (ASCP); and State Public Health Veterinarian Sara Margrey, DVM, MPH.

Also on the panel were Dr. Marek Greer, MD, MPH, FACOEM, director of occupational medicine and employee health at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center; and Dr. Hannah Hays, MD, medical director of the Central Ohio Poison Center and a toxicologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

More than 75 providers attended the webinar in total. Topics included chemicals residents may have been exposed to, symptoms residents are reporting at the Health Assessment Clinic, guidance on treatment and testing, and lists of resources. In addition, providers were able to participate in a question-and-answer session.

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 next week 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.

Resource Fair

Ohio EPA will participate in a resource fair for the community tonight from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the East Palestine School Gym, 360 West Grant Street.

The event is being held by the U.S. EPA and is an opportunity for residents to talk face-to-face with representatives from the Ohio EPA and U.S. EPA, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Columbiana County Health District, Norfolk Southern, and Pennsylvania Department of Health.

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

More Information and Previous Updates:

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