EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) — On Wednesday, Norfolk Southern announced it will now excavate the soil and replace the tracks affected by the train derailment in East Palestine.
Work on the first rail line will start immediately, followed by work on the second line. The plan is to prepare the soil, remove the tracks, excavate the soil and rebuild the tracks, then repeat.
“In coordination with Ohio and U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies, we are changing our remediation plan to temporarily remove the tracks so we can excavate the soil,” said Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan Shaw.
The EPA previously sent a letter to Norfolk Southern claiming it failed to properly dispose of contaminated soil before rebuilding the rail line.
The work comes as part of an updated nine-step remediation plan from the company.
- Begin preparation for the removal and excavation of the first rail line.
- Install and begin sampling shallow groundwater monitoring wells near the site.
- Continue active soil sampling around the site.
- Continue evaluating sediment and sampling in Sulphur Run, Leslie Run and Bull Creek.
- Continue to excavate soil on the site.
- Continue surface water sampling, while monitoring and aerating the streams.
- Evaluate the stormwater infrastructure around the site.
- Continue the disposal of impacted water at an approved disposal facility.
- Begin shipping impacted soil to an approved disposal facility.
Norfolk says the changes come after hearing feedback from residents in East Palestine.
In addition, Toxic wastewater used to extinguish the derailment fie is headed to a Houston suburb for disposal.
The wastewater is being sent to Texas Molecular, which injects hazardous waste into the ground for disposal.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality told KTRK-TV that Texas Molecular “is authorized to accept and manage a variety of waste streams, including vinyl chloride, as part of their … hazardous waste permit and underground injection control permit.”
“It’s … very, very toxic,” Dr. George Guillen, the executive director of the Environmental Institute of Houston, said, but the risk to the public is minimal.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who visited the derailment site Thursday, has warned the railroad responsible for the derailment, Norfolk Southern, to fulfill its promises to clean up the mess just outside East Palestine, Ohio, and help the town recover.
Buttigieg has also announced a package of reforms intended to improve rail safety while regulators try to strengthen safety rules.