Photo by Doug Mollenkopf.

East Palestine update

Gov. Mike DeWine’s office provided updates from the State of Ohio regarding remediation work at the site of the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

DeWine is planning a meeting with farmers in the area. Although the Ohio Department of Agriculture currently has no reason to believe that crops planted in soil in the area of East Palestine are not safe for consumption, the agency will host a roundtable discussion with East Palestine area farmers on Thursday afternoon to discuss concerns about the upcoming planting season.

Here are other updates.

Track and soil removal

The excavation continues under the south tracks at the derailment site. Ohio EPA reports that contractors are making good progress, and soil has been removed down to the clay in about 50 percent of the area. Once to that point, confirmation sampling is conducted to see if any contaminants remain. If contaminants are discovered, contractors will scrape away the clay until sampling comes back with no detection of contaminants.

Hazardous waste removal

According to the Ohio EPA, approximately 3.6 million gallons of liquid wastewater have been hauled out of East Palestine in total.

  • Approximately 257,000 gallons have been shipped to Vickery Environmental in Vickery, Ohio, to be disposed of through deep well injection.
  • Approximately 3 million gallons have been shipped to Texas Molecular in Deer Park, Texas, to be disposed of through deep well injection. 
  • Approximately 320,000 gallons have been hauled to Detroit Industrial Well in Romulus, Michigan to be disposed of through deep well injection.

The Ohio EPA reports that approximately 2,650 tons of solid waste have also left the derailment site.

  • Approximately 380 tons have been hauled to Ross Incineration Services in Grafton, Ohio, to be incinerated.
  • Approximately 1,080 tons have been hauled to Heritage Thermal Services in East Liverpool, Ohio, to be incinerated.
  • Approximately 440 tons have been shipped to U.S. Ecology Wayne Disposal in Belleville, Michigan, to be placed in a landfill.
  • Approximately 750 tons have been hauled to Heritage Environmental Services in North Roachdale, Indiana, to be placed in a landfill.

Increased funding for health care services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Monday awarded $250,000 in emergency funding to the Community Action Agency of Columbiana County to help support emergency response efforts and follow-up care for people affected by the East Palestine train derailment. The funding will support key response activities, including direct health care services, patient screenings, outreach, and enrollment.

The announcement came after a conversation on Friday between HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and Ohio Department of Health Director Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA.

The Community Action Agency (CAA) of Columbiana County has partnered with the Ohio Department of Health and the Columbiana County Health District to support the Health Assessment Clinic for East Palestine area residents who have medical questions or concerns related to the train derailment.

CAA has deployed its mobile van to help increase capacity at the free clinic, which opened Feb. 21.

Coping with trauma

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, especially in the first several weeks following the event.

Local certified professionals are onsite at the East Palestine Mobile Health Clinic and are ready to assist anyone who has questions or concerns.  In addition, any resident can call the Ohio CareLine at 1-800-720-9616 at any time of day for free, confidential, emotional support from a trained professional.

For more information about local behavioral health resources and providers, contact the Columbiana County Mental Health & Recovery Services Board at https://www.ccmhrsb.org/.

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