Statement from Regional Administrator Debra Shore on the East Palestine Train Derailment
“EPA Region 5’s number one priority is – and will always be – the health and safety of communities across the region. That’s why as soon as EPA was notified of the Norfolk Southern train derailment on Friday, February 3, EPA personnel were on-site by 2 a.m. Saturday morning to assist with air monitoring. Since then, EPA has been boots-on-the-ground, leading robust air-quality testing – including with the state-of-the-art ASPECT plane and a mobile analytical laboratory – in and around East Palestine.
Since the fire went out on February 8, EPA air monitoring has not detected any levels of health concern in the community that are attributed to the train derailment. Air monitoring data was provided to state health agencies on February 8 for review prior to the state’s decision to lift the evacuation.
As of February 14, EPA has assisted with the screening of 396 homes under a voluntary screening program offered to residents, and no detections of vinyl chloride or hydrogen chloride were identified. 65 additional homes are scheduled for today. We are continuing to conduct 24/7 air-monitoring to ensure the health and safety of residents.
EPA Region 5 is also working closely with Ohio EPA to determine what impact the spill has had on surface and ground water. State and local agencies are conducting sampling throughout the Ohio River to ensure drinking water intakes aren’t affected, and EPA is continuing to assist the state with sampling efforts at water treatment intake points along the Ohio River.
EPA Region 5 also issued a general notice of potential liability letter to Norfolk Southern to document the release of hazardous contaminants. The letter outlines EPA actions at the site and the potential to hold the railroad accountable for associated costs under EPA’s CERCLA authority.
Earlier today, I affirmed to Governor DeWine that EPA Region 5 will continue to support the state of Ohio as they lead response efforts at the site of the train derailment. Through the coordinated efforts of emergency responders, we will continue to protect the health and safety of all residents.”
For more information, EPA Region 5 has established a dedicated phone line (215-814-2400) staffed by community coordinators and created a web page for residents to stay informed about the most up to date monitoring results https://response.epa.gov/EastPalestineTrainDerailment.