DeWine Slams EPA Over Stalled Soil Removal in East Palestine

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine today said he’s concerned over the stalled efforts to remove contaminated soil at the site of the Norfolk Southern train derailment last month, noting it poses a threat to the community’s health.

“The needs of this community are essentially getting lost in all this red tape, and piles of hazardous soil must not continue to sit stagnant in East Palestine,” DeWine said.

Approximately 24,400 tons of excavated soil is waiting for removal, the governor’s office said Friday.  Just 2,980 tons have actually been removed, the office announced.

DeWine said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken additional steps and has gone beyond safety management regulations to remove the hazardous waste, thereby delaying the entire process.

“While I understand the steps the U.S. EPA is taking to ensure that the waste is disposed of in a safe and proper matter, the fact that waste removal has stalled is outrageous,” DeWine said. “I’m calling on the U.S. EPA and Norfolk Southern to identify and subsequently authorize more sites to take this waste immediately. All licensed hazardous waste facilities in the country are well equipped to dispose of this soil – and, quite frankly, much more dangerous waste – in a safe manner. It’s time to get this process moving.”

All hazardous waste in the United States must be disposed of at a permitted hazardous waste treatment and disposal facility. All permitted treatment and disposal facilities must meet the requirements of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s hazardous waste permitting program, which ensures the safe management of hazardous waste in a manner that protects public health and the environment.

However, the governor’s office stated that the U.S. EPA has taken the approach of requiring pre-approval of all disposal and transport of contaminated soil and liquids from the East Palestine derailment site. This approval is an additional step above and beyond all other applicable safety management regulations required under RCRA and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

According to the Ohio EPA, approximately 4.85 million gallons of liquid wastewater has been hauled out of East Palestine in total.

Approximately 352,000 gallons have been shipped to Vickery Environmental in Vickery, Ohio, to be disposed of through deep well injection.

Approximately 4.18 million gallons have been shipped to Texas Molecular in Deer Park, Texas, to be disposed of through deep well injection.

And, approximately 320,000 gallons have been hauled to Detroit Industrial Well in Romulus, Michigan to be disposed of through deep well injection.

The Ohio EPA reports that approximately 2,980 tons of solid waste has also left the derailment site.

Approximately 520 tons have been hauled to Ross Incineration Services in Grafton, Ohio, to be incinerated and some 1,270 tons have been hauled to Heritage Thermal Services in East Liverpool, Ohio, to be incinerated.

Approximately 440 tons have been shipped to U.S. Ecology Wayne Disposal in Belleville, Michigan, to be placed in a landfill.

Another 750 tons have been hauled to Heritage Environmental Services in North Roachdale, Indiana, to be placed in a landfill.

Pictured at top: Photo of excavated site in East Palestine. Image provided by governor’s office.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.