Recent rains impact clean-up efforts in East Palestine

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has provided an update on remediation efforts of the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

Severe weather resulting in heavy rain increased water flow in the contaminated section of Sulphur Run. It is dammed to the east and west and any rainwater that enters that section is considered contaminated and vacuumed from the site.

Ohio EPA says the rain caused minor damage to some containment, collection, and stream treatment systems and may have allowed a small amount of heavily diluted contaminates to flow from Sulphur Run to Leslie Run.

Norfolk Southern says onsite contaminated storage bins are about 90 percent full because of recent rains. This will require a bulk liquid transfer approved by federal and state authorities.Contaminated liquid was previously removed from the derailment site by truck and transported to licensed hazardous waste disposal facilities. Ohio EPA is overseeing the transfer of the liquid wastewater from semi-trucks to rail cars stationed at the rail yards in Lordstown, Ohio. 

Officials continue to test water and air in the area.

Water sample results from private water systems of East Palestine-area homes show no harmful levels of contaminants.

More than 120 private water wells in Ohio have been tested. Results have been returned for 30 of those wells, none of which showed evidence of contaminants linked to the train derailment.

To date, the U.S. EPA has not detected contaminants associated with the derailment while testing air quality within area homes.

Other testing includes wildlife necropsies. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will submit deceased wildlife to the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL) for necropsies. Three raccoons, two muskrats, and one snapping turtle were recently found dead in or around Sulphur Run. 

Final necropsy results on four other animals previously submitted to the lab did not show chemical toxicity as a cause of death. Testing results from one six-week-old beef calf that died on Feb. 11 are still pending.

There are mental health services available. 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 in the weeks following the event.

Local certified professionals are available at the East Palestine Mobile Health Clinic. And, any resident can call the Ohio CareLine at 1-800-720-9616 at any time of day at no cost.

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