Texas and Michigan got ‘surprise’ shipments containing hazardous water and soil from Ohio’s train derailment, and officials are angry.

Officials Angry Over Toxic Water and Soil Surprises

Officials in Texas and Michigan are complaining they didn’t receive any warning that contaminated water and soil from the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, would be shipped into their jurisdictions for disposal.

“It’s a very real problem, we were told yesterday the materials were coming only to learn today they’ve been here for a week,” Judge Lina Hidalgo said Thursday.

According to chief executive of Harris County, Texas, about two million gallons of firefighting water from the train derailment site was expected to be disposed of, with around half a million gallons already present.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s spokesperson told CNN he wasn’t informed about the location where shipments would be sent, but the companies claim it’s standard protocol.

Two Ohio senators warned in a letter sent a couple weeks ago to EPA Administrator Michael Regan and Ohio EPA Director Anne Vogel that the combustion of vinyl chloride, the toxic chemical released and burned after a train carrying it derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, earlier this month, can lead to the formation of dioxins, highly toxic compounds that are “persistent environmental pollutants.”

Citing EPA information, they noted that dioxins can interfere with hormones and can cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems. Dioxins may also damage an exposed individual’s immune system.

“Following our visits to East Palestine this past week where we heard directly from members of the community, we remain concerned that it does not appear that the U.S. EPA, OEPA, or Norfolk Southern is texting for dioxins,” Vance and Brown wrote.

Where is the Toxic Waste Going?

The responsibility for transporting the material is the train company, while the Environmental Protection Agency regulates the transport.

“Some of the liquid wastes will be sent to a facility in Vickery, Ohio, where it will be disposed of in an underground injection well,” Shore said. “Norfolk Southern will also begin shipping solid waste to the Heritage Incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio.”

A view of the site of the derailment of a train carrying hazardous waste in East Palestine, Ohio, February 23, 2023. Alan Freed/Reuters

All rail cars, except for those held by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), have been removed from the site of the derailment, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director Anne Vogel said in an update Sunday.

Every aspect of transporting and disposing of the hazardous waste material “from the moment trucks and rail cars are loaded until the waste is safely disposed of” will be closely regulated and overseen by federal, state, and local governments, Shore said Sunday.

The Clean Up Controversy

The EPA reported last week that they have conducted indoor air testing at a total of 574 homes and detected no contaminants associated with the derailment.

According to CNN, A 19-person scientific team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been collecting information from residents about symptoms they have experienced since the derailment, said Jill Shugart, a senior environmental health specialist for the CDC.

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