EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – Friday’s update to the cleanup and remediation efforts in East Palestine following the Norfolk Southern train derailment includes information about health assessments, new signage and an agriculture meeting, among other things.

Data from health assessments conducted at the East Palestine Health Assessment Clinic and those conducted door-to-door show that headache is the most common symptom reported by those who may be impacted by the train derailment. Other symptoms include anxiety, fatigue, coughing and skin irritation or rash.

Next week’s clinic hours are: 

  • Monday-Tuesday: Noon to 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Noon to 8 p.m.
  • Thursday: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The clinic is located at the First Church of Christ, 20 West Martin St., and can be reached by calling 234-564-7755 or 234-564-7888.

Ohio EPA is overseeing operations as tracks and ties are removed from the derailment site in preparation to excavate the soil underneath.

Nineteen hundred feet of rail will be pulled up on both sets of tracks. The plan has been approved by state and federal authorities and should be complete by April 30.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and state agricultural experts will meet with East Palestine area farmers next week to address concerns about the upcoming planting season.

ODA said it has no reason to believe crops planted in soil in the area of East Palestine are not safe. Norfolk Southern is developing a soil sampling plan for residential and agricultural areas. Once finalized, the plan must be approved by the U.S. EPA.

The time and date of next week’s meeting have not yet been determined, but additional information will be provided in a future update.

The Village of East Palestine will begin posting signs advising residents to stay out of local waterways where testing and cleaning are taking place. Residents can expect to see the “KEEP OUT” signs posted along Sulphur Run and Leslie Run near the public park, the train derailment site and elsewhere throughout the village.

An open house will be held Saturday by the East Palestine municipal water system at the village’s water treatment plant. Plant employees will explain where the city’s wells are located, present groundwater and source protection maps and answer questions about the water system.

All sampling of East Palestine’s municipal water wells to date have shown no contaminants associated with the derailment. 

Water sample results from private water systems of East Palestine area homes continue to show no harmful levels of contaminants.

In total, 157 private systems have been sampled. Of those, test results from 57 samples have been verified, and none have shown any harmful contaminant levels associated with the derailment.

The results can be found on the Columbiana County Health Department site at https://www.columbiana-health.org/resources/.

Residents near East Palestine who would like their private water system sampled should call 330-849-3919.

According to the Ohio EPA, approximately 3.2 million gallons of liquid wastewater have been hauled out of East Palestine in total.

  • Approximately 210,000 gallons have been shipped to Vickery Environmental in Vickery, Ohio, to be disposed of through deep well injection.
  • Approximately 1.9 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 1,700 tons of solid waste have also left the derailment site.

  • Approximately 190 tons have been hauled to Ross Incineration Services in Grafton, Ohio, to be incinerated.
  • Approximately 660 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 440 tons have been hauled to Heritage Environmental Services in North Roachdale, Indiana to be placed in a landfill.

Necropsies so far on dead animals tested show no evidence to support chemical toxicity as a cause of death. Some of the animals submitted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources were too decomposed for lab work. 

Governor DeWine also announced that the Learning Aid Ohio program, which provides in-home support services for students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) to supplement the services they receive in schools, is reserving dedicated slots for children in Columbiana County who have been impacted by the Norfolk Southern train derailment. For additional information on the program, families and providers can visit LearningOhio.com. Columbiana County families with questions may email learningohio@dsaco.net.

Local certified professionals are onsite at the East Palestine Mobile Health Clinic to address mental health issues. 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/

Air and water monitoring continues, with 16 sites for air monitoring. So far, the air and water monitoring have shown no exceedances, according to the U.S EPA. Private well testing continues, and the latest results show no contamination, according to Ohio Governor Mike Dewine.

Other updates:

  • Governor DeWine has called on rail carriers to be involved in and help implement first-responder training in communities.
  • Senators J.D. Vance and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Senators Bob Casey and John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, as well as Senators Marco Rubio (FL) and Josh Hawley (MO), introduced the Railway Safety Act of 2023 in the United States Senate.
  • U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg released updates on rail regulations.
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will require Norfolk Southern to test directly for dioxins. If dioxins are found at a level that poses any unacceptable risk to human health and the environment, EPA will direct the immediate cleanup of the area as needed. In addition, EPA will require Norfolk Southern to conduct a background study to compare any dioxin levels around East Palestine to dioxin levels in other areas not impacted by the train derailment.