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EPA tells NS where to dispose of derailment’s contaminated waste

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has told Norfolk Southern where to dispose of waste from the site of the Feb. 3 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, in part because of concerns elsewhere about having it deposited in their communities.

According to news reports, Texas and Michigan officials expressed concern about having waste from the train derailment disposed of in their states.

EPA will review the railroad’s disposal locations and transportation routes for contaminated waste going forward, according to the agency’s Friday directive for NS (NYSE: NSC). The agency also asked for NS “to accelerate cleanup,” which the railroad should be able to do by transporting the solid waste to at least two Ohio sites in Vickery and East Liverpool. 

EPA, NS and state and local partners will also seek to identify other solid-waste disposal locations, the regional EPA office said Sunday.

“EPA has decades of experience dealing with hazardous waste — both from cleaning up contaminated sites to regulating the landfills where it’s disposed of,” EPA Region 5 said Sunday.

NS has been steadily collecting and removing waste from the site, according to a Friday update from the railroad. Over 1.1 million gallons of affected water has been moved off site for final disposal, while an estimated 4,800 cubic yards of soil has been excavated for removal. All the facilities where soil and water would have been transported were designed to accept the waste safely and in accordance with state and federal regulations, NS said Friday.

EPA also said it has conducted nearly 580 home reentry screenings and has active air monitoring occurring in 15 different locations throughout East Palestine. 

Teams with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry are also conducting door-to-door outreach within the community. They also have conducted chemical exposure investigations in 22 homes as of Sunday, according to the EPA. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is also conducting local outreach. 

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