EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) — As East Palestine continues to recover, village council met for its second regular meeting since the derailment. There, members answered questions about water testing and updated on what Norfolk Southern is doing.
Village Mayor Trent Conaway addressed federal agencies that are in town, along with the services they are providing to the residents.
“I know there’s still a bunch of questions for our residents. I still have a bunch of questions myself,” Conaway said.
Conaway said Norfolk Southern is scheduled to remove and rebuild the tracks March 5, but only one lane at a time.
“We want that removed as fast as possible, but we still have to let them commerce through, because if not, it would cripple the entire East Coast,” Conaway said.
Conaway said all the contaminated soil would be contained, and the mud on the streets is not contaminated.
“All the contaminated mud was in one area. That’s from the mud being dragged out from the trucks from the roadways that were put in,” Conaway said.
Scott Wolfe with the village’s water department said the water is being tested every Tuesday. Prior to the derailment, it was tested every three years per regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“There has not been a single hit on anything yet. I don’t foresee any problems moving forward,” Wolfe said.
A water leak in a contaminated area would be the only cause for concern, according to Wolfe, but the water line closest to the derailment site is about 200 yards away.
Village council member Linda May addressed a rumor that Norfolk Southern was bring in donations and gifts to the village.
“They are not making gifts. They are not making donations,” May said. “There’s not going to be a stockpile of money at the end of this. They are reimbursing us for what they damaged.”
On Monday, Norfolk Southern released on its website created for the derailment’s aftermath an updated itemized list of its reimbursements made to date. The current total the company says it has invested $11.35 million into the recovery to date.