COLUMBUS, Ohio — The EPA announced Monday afternoon that at least four facilities – including three in Ohio – are already or will start to receive hazardous waste from the toxic train derailment in East Palestine.
The updated information comes after the EPA asked Norfolk Southern to “pause” its shipments of hazardous waste over the weekend.
At least three locations in Ohio – including one in Grafton, one in Vickery and another in East Liverpool – are accepting some of the hazardous waste. A four location in Roachdale, Indiana was also identified by the EPA Monday as a location where some of the material will be sent.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s office released a statement Monday afternoon saying that: “approximately 4,832 cubic yards of contaminated soil have been collected from the derailment site. This number is an estimate based on visual surveys of the collected soil. A more precise number is calculated at the time the soil is weighed for disposal.
Of the contaminated soil removed from the site:
- Approximately 280 tons of contaminated soil have been disposed of at U.S. Ecology Wayne Disposal, a licensed hazardous waste disposal facility in Michigan. This disposal occurred prior to the U.S. EPA's pause on waste disposal.
- Two 28-cubic-yard boxes of contaminated soil are being sent today to Heritage Thermal Services, a licensed hazardous waste disposal facility in East Liverpool, Ohio.
Additional contaminated soil at the derailment site will be collected when the process to remove the rails begins.”
DeWine’s office also said that approximately 1.8 million gallons of liquid waste had been collected from the site.
Of the liquid waste removed:
- Approximately 319,002 gallons were disposed of at U.S. Ecology Romulus, a licensed solid waste disposal facility in Michigan. This disposal took place prior to the U.S. EPA's pause on waste disposal.
- Approximately 1.249 million gallons were disposed of at Texas Molecular, a licensed solid waste disposal facility in Texas. This disposal took place prior to the U.S. EPA's pause on waste disposal.
- Approximately 94,372 gallons were disposed of at Vickery Environmental, a licensed solid waste disposal facility in Vickery, Ohio. This total includes liquid disposed of both before and after the U.S. EPA's pause on waste disposal.
More contaminated liquid will be collected as the cleanup process progresses.
On Tuesday, EPA Director Michael Regan is expected to be back in East Palestine.
On Feb. 3, a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous materials including vinyl chloride and others derailed in East Palestine. A fire and subsequent controlled release of the chemicals forced residents from their homes.
The response to toxic train derailment and concerns over what was leached into the environmental has helped sow mistrust in the railroad and the government’s response.
The regional director for the EPA Region 5 Debra Shore told reporters Monday that a community welcome center is expected to be opened this week on East Market Street in East Palestine. There residents would be able to have questioned answered by federal emergency response personnel.
A community meeting is planned for Thursday. It’s not clear if Norfolk Southern officials will attend. They declined to attend a previous meeting citing concerns about their employees’ safety.
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, who toured a local business Monday, told reporters Norfolk Southern has not adequately invested in rail safety features, adding he’d like to see Congress pass legislation in the coming weeks.
Shore told reporters Monday that while air, water and home testing is ongoing and available there were no “exceedances” to report.
When asked by a reporter, Shore said the EPA is not currently testing for dioxins – something that both environmental scientists and community members expressed concern about during a meeting last Thursday in downtown East Palestine.
In interviews with 10 Investigates, several people in East Palestine have still expressed skepticism over what they are being told.
“Everybody wants answers. I want answers. Is it safe for my kids? My neighbor? My dog. My cat. But we can’t get it,” said Scott McAleer, an East Palestine resident who told 10 Investigates he witnessed the derailment.
Mcaleer says he and his family aren’t using the municipal water, despite assurances from the government that it’s safe to drink. They’re still using bottle water for everything.
The derailment even has him considering moving.
“That impact (Norfolk Southern) put us … it’s an option still but definitely weighing heavy on the table,” he said.
10 Investigates reached out to Norfolk Southern for comment on whether they plan to attend this week’s public meeting. We have not heard back.