NEW WATERFORD, Ohio (WKBN) – Test results are coming back for farmers in Columbiana County after the February train derailment in East Palestine. So far, officials say soil and even plants are not showing to be contaminated from the derailment flume and chemical burn-off.
Kasey Swope manages Baker’s Golden Dairy. She says that immediately following the derailment, they feared the crops that feed their cows could be contaminated.
“Our main concern was right after this happened, our rye was going to be ready,” explained Swope. “What if our rye was in contact with this and it’s positive? Then it goes through the cow, through the whole system, you know, then it comes out in the milk.”
That rye has been tested for toxins along with the soil at the dairy.
Debra Shore, an administrator from the U.S. EPA, toured the dairy along with members of the Columbiana Farm Bureau, other farmers and the director of the Ohio EPA, Anne Vogle.
“Farmers are scientists at the end of the day. They are testing their stuff all the time and they know what their animals are experiencing and they know what stress does to their animals,” said Vogle.
“The tissue samples didn’t show any evidence of chemicals,” said Shore.
One of the challenges that remain is convincing people that products from this area are safe to consume.
“The farmers are, as a result of the sampling that’s been done and testing, are feeling much more confident. They haven’t seen issues, respiratory issues with their animals,” said Shore. “But they aren’t sure whether members of the general public will have confidence in their products.”
Shore says the EPA will continue to monitor soil as part of their long-term plan, possibly as long as 10 years or more.