The EPA announced on Monday that the toxic waste from the East Palestine train derailment would be shipped across state lines to a facility in Roachdale, Indiana. Additional waste will be shipped to another facility in Grafton, OH. EPA Regional Administrator Debra Shore said that it is safer to store the toxic liquid and solid materials safely under capacity in multiple facilities rather than overflow the facilities already storing some of the waste. The EPA has instructed local and state officials to comply with all hazardous materials regulations during the transfer. The EPA continues to say that the air and water quality is safe in the area, despite multiple residents reporting symptoms that a healthcare worker referred to as “chemical bronchitis.” Last week, EPA Administrator Michael Regan asked the East Palestine residents to continue to “trust the government” when they report that the air and water are safe.
By Alana Mastrangelo; February 27, 2023
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Monday that it has lined up facilities in Grafton, Ohio, and Roachdale, Indiana, to accept liquid and solid waste from the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
“We had promised to notify elected officials and our state agency partners before approving the shipment of any waste from the derailment to their state or district, and we have done that,” U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Debra Shore said in a Monday press briefing.
“The addition of these disposal locations gets us closer to having enough capacity to finish the cleanup and to get all the waste out of East Palestine as quickly as possible,” Shore added.
On Sunday, Shore announced that the EPA had two other disposal centers in Vickery and East Liverpool, Ohio, but because these two facilities “don’t have enough capacity to handle all the liquid and solid waste from this cleanup,” the EPA had to find other disposal locations.
Therefore, hazardous waste will now be shipped to Grafton, Ohio, and Roachdale, Indiana, the EPA administrator said Monday.
“It’s far better to have [the waste] safely stored in a properly constructed and monitored disposal facility than to remain here any longer than is necessary,” Shore said. “Every aspect of hazardous waste transportation and disposal is closely regulated and overseen by federal state and local government agencies.”
The EPA administrator added that “Norfolk Southern must comply with all federal, state, and local requirements” related to hazardous waste transportation.
On February 3, a train operated by Norfolk Southern derailed and spilled toxic chemicals into the environment, sparking a fire. Cleanup crews ended up igniting five train cars to get rid of toxic chemicals in a controlled environment, which created a menacing plume of thick smoke that resembled a mushroom cloud.
While East Palestine residents who were ordered to evacuate have since been told it is safe to return home, many remain very concerned about the water and air quality in the area, with some residents reporting similar symptoms, which one local healthcare employee referred to as “chemical bronchitis.”
On Monday, Shore insisted the air quality is safe, saying the “EPA has conducted 578 home re-entry screenings so far, and continues air monitoring at 15 stations within the community.”
“I continue to be pleased that there have been no exceedances for residential air quality standards and outdoor air quality remains normal,” she said.
The government agency has also insisted that the water is safe to drink.
Last week, EPA Administrator Michael Regan asked East Palestine residents to “trust the government” when the EPA says the water is safe to drink in the wake of the toxic chemical spill.
But not everyone agrees. In an interview with Breitbart News last week, Ohio Sen. Michael Rulli (R-Salem) implored residents within a ten-mile radius of East Palestine not to drink the water, stressing, “It is not safe.”
On Wednesday, former President Donald Trump delivered truckloads of bottled water during his visit to the small town, which President Joe Biden has yet to step foot in since the train disaster.
Photo: AP Photo/Matt Freed