EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – Environmental consequences have been a major concern in East Palestine. They’ve prompted a college student to do his own research in local streams.
Sam Hall is a sophomore at West Virginia University. He studies wildlife and fish resource management and grew up about 20 miles outside East Palestine.
After conflicting reports about wildlife in the area, Hall and his friends investigated Leslie Run and Bull Creek.
“A lot of locals are out there, taking their own samples, taking pictures of the fish, taking pictures of everything,” he said.
Hall thought more fish died than originally reported.
“In a single school of, you know, shiners, could number 100, and only being in a 10-square-foot area at one time, so if there was only 50 fish per 100 feet of that stream, over 13,000 fish were killed,” he said.
During a news conference just over a week ago, an official with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said there were no more dead fish running in the streams near East Palestine after the derailment.
Hall said he and his friends found something different, however.
“There was a bunch of fresh dead fish, and there were fish that were still dying. They were able to swim, but they were just starting to go belly up and floating around. There were frogs that were starting to lose motor control,” he said.
Hall also says he found old dead fish in the streams.
After clean-up, crews walked along the stretch of Leslie Run.
“You could see their bootprints in the sediment. You could see rocks that were moved over where they were scooping these fish, and we were still able to see probably, at minimum, 4,000 fish that weekend, 200 frogs, maybe, and salamanders, hundreds and hundreds of crayfish, and that’s all after the easy stuff was cleaned up,” he said.
Hall and his friends also took sediment and water samples.
He also hopes to work at the West Virginia Water Research Institute. That would give him more in-depth testing on his samples.