East Palestine, Ohio train derailment: Contaminated waste shipments to resume Monday

(CNN) The Environmental Protection Agency has approved the resumption of shipments of contaminated fluid and soil from East Palestine to Ohio. A train carrying toxic chemicals derailed Earlier this month.

The EPA on Friday ordered the train’s operator, Norfolk Southern, to halt shipments so it could review the company’s plans for removal, adding to the controversy surrounding the accident that also left city residents stranded. Concerns about possible long-term health effects.

Officials in Texas and Michigan are just as they complained No warning received Hazardous waste from the accident will be sent to their jurisdictions for disposal.

Shipments will now go to two EPA-certified facilities in Ohio, and Norfolk Southern will begin shipping to these locations on Monday, EPA Regional Administrator Debra Shore said at a news conference Sunday.

“Some of the liquid waste will be sent to a facility in Vickery, Ohio, where it will be disposed of in an underground injection well,” Shore said. “Norfolk Southern to Begin Sending Solid Waste to Heritage Incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio.”

As of Friday, Shore said Saturday that Norfolk Southern was “solely responsible” for the disposal of waste from the derailment, but waste disposal plans are “subject to EPA review and approval going forward.”

All train cars owned by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have been removed from the derailment site, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director Anne Vogel said in an update Sunday.

The NTSB is currently holding 11 train cars as part of its investigation into the derailment, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement Sunday.

“This is critical to moving to the next steps. We can now drill additional contaminated soil and begin installing monitoring wells,” Vogel said. The Ohio EPA will oversee the installation of water monitoring wells at the derailment site, which will measure contaminant levels in the groundwater below.

Supervision of waste export

Shore said Sunday that every aspect of hazardous waste transportation and disposal will be closely regulated and overseen by federal, state and local governments “from the moment the trucks and rail cars are loaded until the waste is safely disposed of.”

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Shore described the federal, state and local compliance requirements expected of Norfolk Southern.

“These comprehensive requirements cover all aspects of waste labeling, packaging and handling, as well as requirements for shipping documents that provide information about the waste and where it is going,” Shore said.

Hazardous waste products previously sent to facilities in Michigan and Texas are now being processed at those facilities, Shore said.

About 2 million gallons of firefighting water is expected to be removed from the derailment site in Harris County, Texas, after about half a million gallons already, the county’s chief executive said.

Also, contaminated soil from the derailment site is being transported to U.S. Ecology’s Wayne Disposal in Belleville, Michigan, Michigan’s U.S. Representative Debbie Dinkel said Friday.

The Michigan and Ohio facilities were, in fact, EPA-approved sites, but they are not currently accepting any shipments, and the EPA is investigating whether they have the capacity to accept shipments in the future, Shore said. .

A spokesman for Gov. DeWine told CNN the governor has not been told where the shipments will be sent to the country. But that’s routine because the railroad is responsible for transporting the material and the EPA is responsible for regulating that transportation, DeWine spokesman Daniel Tierney said Saturday.

The February 3 derailed Norfolk Southern Railway and adjacent Intentional release of vinyl chloride It first drove East Palestinians from their homes, and later raised concerns about health impacts. Reports of symptoms After their return they developed a rash and headaches.

Officials have repeatedly tried to reassure residents that ongoing air and water monitoring is not a concern. The EPA reported last week that they had conducted indoor air tests in a total of 574 homes and found no derailment.

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Federal troops are launched in East Palestine Goes from house to house President Joe Biden directed the move to check in with residents, conduct health inspections and hand out informational flyers, a White House official told CNN.

Also, a 19-member scientific team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is collecting information from residents about symptoms they’ve experienced since the derailment, said Jill Shugard, a senior environmental health specialist at the CDC.

The EPA installed “sentinel wells” near the city’s municipal well field as part of the agency’s long-term early detection system to “protect the city for years to come,” Vogel, head of the Ohio EPA, said Saturday.

Controversy over moving toxic waste from accident site

In a Saturday update on contaminated waste disposal, Devine said 20 truckloads of hazardous solid waste had been hauled away from the Ohio derailment site. Fifteen of those truckloads were disposed of at a licensed hazardous waste treatment and disposal facility in Michigan and five truckloads were returned to East Palestine.

According to Devine, about 102,000 gallons of liquid waste and 4,500 cubic yards of solid waste were stored in East Palestine as of Saturday — not including the five truckloads that were returned. He said additional solid and liquid wastes are generated during cleaning operations.

Dingell told CNN on Saturday that neither he nor Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer knew about plans to have toxic waste delivered to disposal sites in her district.

“I called everybody,” Dinkel said. “Nobody really reported that they were coming here.”

Across the country, Texas Chief Executive Lena Hidalgo expressed frustration that she first learned from the news media about the expected water export to her state — the government agency, or Texas Molecular, the company hired to dispose of the water.

He added that while there is no legal requirement for his office to be notified, “it just doesn’t seem right.”

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Hidalgo said Texas Molecular told his office Thursday that half a million gallons of water are already in the county and that shipments began arriving last Wednesday.

On Thursday, Texas Molecular told CNN it was hired to dispose of hazardous water from the Ohio train derailment. The company said it has experts with more than four decades of experience in managing water safely and so far all shipments have come by truck for the entire journey.

A view of the site of the derailment of a train carrying hazardous waste in East Palestine, Ohio, on February 23, 2023.

Hidalgo’s office is seeking information about the disposal, including the chemical composition of the firewater, the precautions taken and why Harris County was chosen as the site, he said.

More than 1.7 million gallons of contaminated fluid was removed from the immediate site of the derailment, according to a Thursday news release from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. Of that, more than 1.1 million gallons of “contaminated liquid” were shipped out of East Palestine, with most going to Texas Molecular and the rest to a facility in Vickery, Ohio.

CNN asked the Ohio agency for the location of the remaining 581,500 gallons, which were “removed” but “not hauled out” and have yet to receive a response.

National Transportation Safety Board on causes of accidents Initial report One of the train’s cars carrying plastic pellets was found to be heated by a hot mold, which sparked the initial fire, said Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homandy. So far, the investigation has identified three crew members who were on the train No mistake was made Before the derailment, the accident was “100% preventable,” he said.

CNN’s Nikki Brown, Sarah Smart and Ralph Ellis contributed to this report.

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