HANOVERTON, Ohio (WKBN) — For almost two months, the Ohio EPA has been in and out of East Palestine. Now, it is visiting a new spot in Columbiana County.
The visit is prompted out of concern about contaminated water and soil after a transformer fell following a weekend storm.
The Hilderbrands called Ohio Edison about the downed transformer. Eventually, the fire department showed up to close the road until Ohio Edison got there. But the rain cause the chemicals to spread.
“But the pole that it took down had a transformer on it, and there’s PCB carcinogenics inside of the transformer because it was pre-1979,” said Keith Hilderbrand Sr., one of the owners of the home.
Crews have been working on a home on Campbell Road in Hanoverton for days. The electricity has been off since Saturday, but the testing being done is a result of the transformer that fell.
According to the EPA’s website, PCBs are a group of organic chemicals consisting of carbon, hydrogen and chlorine atoms. They have been banned since 1979.
“And it spread those chemicals all through our property, through our spring, into where the goats drink,” Jamiella Hilderbrand said.
The Hilderbrands had four goats drink the water, two of which were pregnant, meaning the goats were exposed to the carcinogens. They were taken to a local vet.
“We had to surrender them,” Jamilla Hilderbrand said. “They have to be euthanized because there’s no test that can specify PCB.”
The Hilderbrands still own three goats, two of which are being quarantined. But the loss is concerning.
“That’s a source of income for us, the babies, the milk, products made from the milk,” Jamilla Hilderbrand said.
Ohio Edison did offer to buy the four goats as compensation.
As for the Hilderbrands, they’re still without power, which means they’re without well water, too. But once electricity is restored, that will have to be tested.
“We may have to test it several times and they’ll have to test the soil, over and over, months,” Jamilla Hilderbrand said.
First News reached out to First Energy and a representative said they followed standard procedure.
“High winds during last Saturday’s storms damaged a transformer which leaked fluid. It is standard practice for us to report this type of incident to the Ohio EPA. We have cleaned the area surrounding the spill to ensure public and environmental safety,” said Lauren Siburkis from First Energy.