Plume Map Shows Smoke, Soot Impact after Derailment

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio – A plume map released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows soot created during the controlled vent and burn after the Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern train derailment traveled into western Pennsylvania and throughout the Mahoning Valley.

The EPA requested the Event Reconstruction model and map from the Interagency Modeling and Atmospheric Assessment Center.

The map shows the highest concentrations of soot from the Feb. 6 controlled vent and burn traveled southeast of East Palestine, with that area seeing approximately 0.014 ounces of soot per acre. The EPA analysis claims that is roughly the same as a pinch of salt spread across an acre.

The map also shows that during 10 hours after the burn, the plume took soot as far northwest as Columbiana and north through Boardman, Canfield, Struthers, Youngstown, Austintown, Niles, Warren and Sharon, Pa. A slightly elevated amount was reported in the Girard area.

The plume traveled through Midland, Pa., and Calcutta to the south and east to Beaver Falls and New Brighton, Pa.

East Palestine Train Derailment Soot Surface Deposition Map (IMAAC Retrospective Analysis)

The EPA notes testing of soil was amended to target those areas of highest estimated soot concentration. The federal EPA coordinated with the Pennsylvania EPA to check those areas, including testing for dioxins and furans. According to the EPA, impacts from soot and smoke were minimal, and all the results are within background ranges for typical rural and urban soils.

Cleanup continues near the derailment site, with an estimated 65,328 tons of solid waste and 20.26 million gallons of liquid waste shipped. Excavation of contaminated soil around the northern track, which started in late April, should be completed this week.

A Meet the Helpers event is scheduled at the East Palestine Memorial Library from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Pictured at top: A black plume rises over East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb. 6, 2023, as a result of a controlled detonation of a portion of a derailed Norfolk Southern train. (AP Photo | Gene J. Puskar, File)

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.