EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (AP) — Contaminated waste from the site of a fiery train derailment in Ohio began moving out again Monday, after concerns were raised during the weekend about oversight of where it was being shipped, federal officials said.
The Environmental Protection Agency also announced that two new hazardous waste sites will receive some of the shipments — an incinerator in Grafton, Ohio, and a landfill in Roachdale, Indiana.
The EPA now is getting close to having enough certified facilities to take all of the waste from the site of the Feb. 3 derailment in East Palestine, said Debra Shore, a regional administrator with the agency.
Officials on Saturday had ordered Norfolk Southern to “pause” shipments to allow additional oversight measures. Some liquid and solid waste had already been taken to sites in Michigan and Texas.
Indiana governor Eric Holcomb made a statement on the decision to bring a shipment to the landfill in Roachdale:
“I continue to object to the EPA Administrator’s decision, from Washington, D.C., to move hazardous waste from the East Palestine train derailment to Indiana. Further, there has been a lack of communication with me and other Indiana officials about this decision.
After learning third-hand that materials may be transported to our state yesterday, I directed my environmental director to reach out to the agency. The materials should go to the nearest facilities, not moved from the far eastern side of Ohio to the far western side of Indiana. I have made a request to speak to the administrator to discuss this matter. I want to know exactly what precautions will be taken in the transport and disposition of the materials.”
Senator Mike Braun also made a statement:
“I am opposed to the transfer of hazardous materials from the East Palestine train derailment into Indiana. The Biden EPA and Transportation Department have mishandled this disaster from day one. Any material from this disaster being transferred to Indiana overseen by this Biden EPA is seriously concerning. Hoosiers’ safety is my top priority.”
About 1.8 million gallons of liquid waste have been collected from the derailment site, according to the Ohio EPA.
Some of the remaining liquid waste is going to a facility in Vickery, Ohio, for disposal in an underground injection well. Norfolk Southern is also shipping solid waste to an incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio.
No one was injured when 38 rail cars derailed more than three weeks ago. After fears grew about a potential explosion, officials opted to release and burn toxic vinyl chloride from five tanker cars, sending black smoke billowing into the sky.
Federal and state officials have repeatedly said air testing in the village and inside hundreds of homes hasn’t detected any concerning levels of contaminants. The state also has said the local municipal drinking water system is safe. Despite assurances, many residents are worried about what they were exposed to and how it will impact the area.