Contaminated waste shipments from Ohio derailment to resume: NPR

A view of the scene Friday as cleanup continues at the site of a Norfolk Southern freight train derailment that occurred February 3 in East Palestine, Ohio.

Matt Freed/AP

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Matt Freed/AP

A view of the scene Friday as cleanup continues at the site of a Norfolk Southern freight train derailment that occurred February 3 in East Palestine, Ohio.

Matt Freed/AP

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Shipping contaminated waste from the site of a flaming train derailment earlier this month in eastern Ohio will resume on Monday to two approved sites in Ohio, according to federal environmental officials.

The announcement came a day after the Environmental Protection Agency ordered Norfolk Southern to ‘suspend’ shipments from the site of the February 3 derailment in eastern Palestine to allow for monitoring measures information about where the waste was shipped. Some liquid and solid waste had already been sent to sites in Michigan and Texas.

EPA-certified facilities capable of accepting some of the waste have been identified, meaning shipments could resume Monday, Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore of the Environmental Protection Agency said Sunday. the environment.

Some of the liquid waste will be sent to a facility in Vickery, Ohio, for disposal in an underground injection well, Shore said. Norfolk Southern will also begin shipping solid waste to an incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio, and other solid waste disposal sites were being sought, she said.

“All of this is great news for the people of eastern Palestine and the surrounding community, as it means the cleanup can continue at a rapid pace,” she said.

The Ohio governor’s office said on Saturday evening that five of 20 trucks (about 280 tons) of hazardous solid waste were returned to eastern Palestine after 15 trucks were disposed of at a waste treatment and disposal facility. dangerous from Michigan. Shore said material shipped to sites in other states, but later returned to eastern Palestine, would now be shipped to the two sites in Ohio.

All railcars, except for the 11 railcars held by the National Transportation Safety Board, have been removed from the site, allowing for the excavation of additional contaminated soil and the installation of monitoring wells to check for groundwater contamination said Anne Vogel, director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

No one was hurt when 38 Norfolk Southern carriages derailed in a fiery, mangled mess on the outskirts of the city, but as fears grew over a potential explosion from dangerous chemicals in five of the carriages, the authorities evacuated the area. They later chose to release and burn toxic vinyl chloride from tank cars, again sending flames and black smoke into the sky.

Federal and state officials have repeatedly said it is safe for evacuated residents to return to the area and that air tests across the city and inside hundreds of homes have detected no levels of concern. of contaminants. The state says the local municipal drinking water system is safe and bottled water is available for those with private wells. Despite these assurances, many residents have expressed 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.


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