EPA orders Norfolk Southern to STOP cleanup of toxic train derailment in eastern Palestine, despite ‘102,000 gallons of liquid waste and 4,500 cubic yards of solid waste’ still on site
- The Environmental Protection Agency ordered the pause, but promised removal of the material would resume “very soon.”
- Norfolk Southern, the railroad company, had been solely responsible for the disposal of the debris from the derailed train in East Palestine, Ohio.
Federal environmental authorities have ordered a temporary halt to the shipment of contaminated waste from the site of a burning train derailment earlier this month in eastern Ohio, near the Pennsylvania state line.
Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore of the Environmental Protection Agency said Saturday that the agency has ordered Norfolk Southern to “pause” shipments from the site of the February 3 derailment in eastern Palestine, but vowed that removal of the material would resume “very soon.”
‘Everybody wants this contamination to go away from the community. They don’t want to worry, and they don’t want the smell, and we owe it to the people of East Palestine to get it out of the community as quickly as possible,” Shore said.
As of Friday, Shore said, the rail company had been solely responsible for disposing of the waste and provided Ohio environmental officials with a list of the disposal sites selected and used.
Federal environmental authorities have ordered a halt to the shipment of contaminated waste from the site of a burning train derailment in eastern Ohio, near the Pennsylvania border.
Going forward, disposal plans, including locations and transportation routes for contaminated waste, will be subject to EPA review and approval, he said.
“EPA will ensure that all waste is disposed of safely and legally at EPA-certified facilities to prevent further release of hazardous substances and impacts on communities,” Shore said.
She said officials had heard the concerns of residents and others in several states and were reviewing “the transportation of some of this waste over long distances and finding the appropriate licensed and certified sites to take the waste.”
The Ohio governor’s office said Saturday night that of the twenty truckloads (approximately 280 tons) of hazardous solid waste transported, 15 truckloads of contaminated soil were disposed of at a Michigan hazardous waste treatment and disposal facility, while five trucks were returned to East Palestine. .
Liquid waste already trucked in from eastern Palestine would be disposed of at a licensed hazardous waste treatment and disposal facility in Texas, but that facility would not accept any more liquid waste, the Ohio governor’s office said.
“Currently, around 102,000 gallons of liquid waste and 4,500 cubic yards of solid waste remain stored in eastern Palestine, not including the five trucks returned to the village,” the governor’s office said. “Additional solid and liquid waste is being generated as the cleanup progresses.”
About 50 cars, including 10 carrying hazardous materials, derailed in the small Ohio town.
No one was hurt when 38 Norfolk Southern carriages derailed in a fiery, wrecked mess on the outskirts of town, but as fears grew over a possible explosion due to hazardous chemicals in five of the carriages, officials evacuated the area.
Later they opted for release and burn toxic vinyl chloride from the tank cars, sending flames and black smoke into the sky again.
Shore said the EPA was not involved in the decision to do the controlled burn, but called it a “well-founded” decision by state and local officials based on information they had at the time “to deal with a highly toxic chemical explosive”. .’
Federal and state officials have repeatedly said it is safe for evacuated residents. to return to the area and that air tests in the city and inside hundreds of homes have not detected worrisome levels of pollutants from the fires or chemicals burned. The state says the local municipal drinking water system is safe and bottled water is available while testing is conducted for those with private wells.
Despite those assurances and a host of press conferences and visits from politiciansmany residents still express a sense of mistrust or have lingering questions about what they have been exposed to and how it will affect the future of their families and communities.