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At least 15,000 pounds of contaminated soil and 1 million gallons of contaminated water removed in Ohio

US Environmental Protection Agency / Handout/Anadolu Agency/ Getty Images

(EAST PALESTINE, Ohio) — Norfolk Southern Railway, the operator of the train that derailed in East Palestine, said in a statement Monday that 15,000 pounds of contaminated soil, equal to seven-and-a-half tons, and 1.5 million gallons of contaminated water have been excavated.


It comes more than two weeks after the accident, which raised significant concerns after it was discovered that several cars were carrying dangerous materials on board.

Some of those materials, including vinyl chloride, ethyl acrylate and isobutylene, are considered to be very toxic — possibly carcinogenic — and could be unsafe for both residents and the environment.

The company, however, did not say which chemicals were found in either the soil or the water.

Some of those materials, including vinyl chloride, ethyl acrylate and isobutylene, are considered to be very toxic — possibly carcinogenic — and could be unsafe for both residents and the environment.

The company, however, did not say which chemicals were found in either the soil or the water.

Norfolk Southern said the material “will be transported to landfills and disposal facilities that are designed to accept it safely in accordance with state and federal regulations.”

Meanwhile, a series of pumps are rerouting Sulpher Run, a 3.5-mile stream, around the derailment site. The affected portions of the stream have been dammed to protect the downstream water, according to the company.

“Environmental teams” are treating the impacted portions with booms, aeration and carbon filtration units and working with experts on soil and groundwater collection, Norfolk Southern said.

The excavation teams are reportedly working with stream experts to cultivate a plan in case stream banks or sediment remain contaminated.

Additionally, Norfolk Southern said the “majority” of the hazardous rail cars have been decontaminated and those cars are being held onsite so that the National Transportation Safety Board can proceed with its investigation, after which the cars will be scrapped and moved for disposal.

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency said it intends to compel Norfolk Southern to pay for all cleaning if it fails to complete any actions the agency deems necessary.

The Norfolk Southern train derailment has upended the lives of East Palestine families, and EPA’s order will ensure the company is held accountable for jeopardizing the health and safety of this community,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement. “Let me be clear: Norfolk Southern will pay for cleaning up the mess they created and for the trauma they’ve inflicted on this community.”

The company also boasted that its financial assistance to the East Palestine community has “surpassed serving more than 2,200 families.”

“Since establishing the FAC Feb. 4, the company has made more than $3.4 million in direct payments to citizens impacted by the incident,” the company said.

Norfolk Southern also announced it is designating one of its local railroaders who lives in East Palestine a “dedicated community liaison” for the ongoing recovery efforts.

This “liaison” gig is a one-year assignment, the company said — with a $1 million budget.

“I want residents of East Palestine to know that Norfolk Southern will be in their community to help for as long as needed,” Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw said in a statement Monday night. “Our new community liaison is a Norfolk Southern employee and resident of East Palestine. He will be an advocate for the community with a direct line to me and our senior leadership team.”

The company also repeatedly touted its financial commitment so far to East Palestine, which stands at more than $5.6 million.

Aside from the $1 million for the community liaison, there is $3.4 million in direct financial assistance to families; $1 million for a community assistance fund and $220,000 reimbursement to fund new equipment for first responders.

The news comes as a medical clinic in East Palestine opens on Tuesday to address health concerns and questions raised by residents.

At the clinic, residents will be able to receive a health assessment to see if they are suffering from exposure symptoms. If needed, clinicians will make referrals for patients. The clinic will open at noon on Tuesday and remain open every day through Saturday.

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