East Palestine, Ohio: Texas and Michigan officials complain they were not told water, soil from a train wreck would be transported into their jurisdictions


Officials in Texas and Michigan are complaining that they received no warning that contaminated water and soil from the train tracks in East Palestine, Ohio, would be brought into their jurisdictions for disposal.

About 2 million gallons of firefighting water are expected to be pumped from the train derailment site in Harris County, Texas, with about half a million gallons already there, according to the county’s chief executive.

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

Contaminated soil from the derailment site is being taken to Wayne Ecology US Disposal in Belleville, Michigan, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan said Friday.

“This reported action was ignored,” Dingell said in a news release Friday. “Our priority is always to keep the people we represent safe.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine that 4,832 cubic yards of soil was removed from the ground in East Palestine and that about six truckloads were on the way to Michigan.

The complaints add to the controversy surrounding the February 3 train that left residents complaining of being sick after hazardous chemicals seeped into the air, water and soil.

​​​​​​A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board found that one of the train cars carrying plastic pellets was heated by a hot axle that sparked the initial fire, according to Jennifer Homendy, chairwoman of the safety board.

Residents fear rashes and headaches may be linked to chemicals from train crash

As the bearing temperature got warmer, the train passed two trackside fault detectors that did not trigger an audible alarm message because the heat threshold was not met at that point, Homendy explained. A third detector eventually picked up the high temperature, but by then it was already too late.

“This was 100% preventable. … There is no accident,” Homendy said during a Thursday news conference.

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Residents of East Palestine frustrated by the lack of answers

In a news conference Thursday, Hidalgo expressed frustration that she first learned about the expected water shipments Wednesday from the news media — not from a government agency or Texas Molecular, which hired the company to transport the water. disposal.

Hidalgo said Texas Molecular told her office Thursday that the county already had half a million gallons of the water and the shipments started arriving around last Wednesday.

She added that while there is no legal requirement that her office be notified, “it doesn’t seem right.”

Texas Molecular is getting the water from trucks, but it’s unclear if trucks are used for the entire trip, Hidalgo said. The company told her office that they are receiving about 30 water trucks per day, she said.

Texas Molecular said Friday that all shipments, so far, have arrived by truck for the entire trip.

“Texas Molecular does not transport or choose the mode of transportation for the water,” Jimmy Bracher, vice president of Sales for VLS Environmental Solutions, which owns Texas Molecular, told CNN in a statement Friday afternoon.

“The company that generates the waste will decide/choose who will ship the wastewater and they must be DOT and EPA approved carriers,” Bracher said.

On Thursday, Texas Molecular told CNN it has been hired to dispose of potentially dangerous water from Ohio train tracks. The company said they are experts with more than four decades of experience in managing water safely.

Hidalgo’s office is seeking information about the disposal, including the chemical composition of the firefighting water, the precautions being taken, and why Harris County chose the site, she said.

“There is nothing to say to me at the moment – to tell us – that there will be a transport accident, that this is being done in a way that is not compatible with the well, that there is a terrible reason that the water is coming here and not to a closer location,” said Hidalgo. “But it’s our job to do basic due diligence on that information.”

More than 1.7 million gallons of contaminated liquid have been removed from the immediate site of the derailment, according to a news release Thursday from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. Of this, more than 1.1 million gallons of “contaminated liquid” from East Palestine has been transported off-site, with most going to Texas Molecular and the rest going to a facility in Vickery, Ohio.

CNN asked the Ohio agency to “remove” the location of the remaining 581,500 gallons but it was not “pulled from the scene” and has yet to receive a response.

Wayne County, Michigan, officials have been in contact with officials from a variety of federal and state agencies, as well as the train company involved in the derailment since learning of the contamination, Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans said in Friday evening news conference statement. Evans said the county did not receive a call from anyone that this was happening.

Norfolk Southern train derailed, causing a toxic chemical spill. CNN’s Paula Reid spoke with Purdue University professor Andrew Whelton, an expert on disasters, environmental chemistry and water quality, about what he suggests is being overlooked.” data-duration=”06:47″ data-source-html=” – Source:
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Professor: Independent expert needed on toxic spill response

“It seems terrible to me to do it in a way that doesn’t let the citizens of Wayne County know it’s coming,” Evans said.

Officials don’t know if the move was made “maliciously or not” but say there is a “disconnection,” Evans said.

“We learned about it through the grapevine and then Governor DeWine announced it on his site,” Dingell said at a news conference.

Five trucks have been transported to the area so far, 99% with contaminated water and 1% with contaminated soil, according to Dingell. The truck containing soil could be transported to the area early in the middle of the week, Dingell added.

Transportation of the materials to the Michigan facility has been suspended and an alternate location is likely to be found, Dingell and Evans said.

CNN has reached out to the EPA and Norfolk Southern, the company that owns the derailed train, for comment.

There were three employees aboard the 149-car train operated by Norfolk Southern: a locomotive engineer, a conductor and an engine-head trainee, Homendy told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday.

So far, the investigation has found that the crew did nothing wrong before the derailment, although the accident was “100% preventable,” she said.

The next phase of the investigation will examine the train’s rolling stock and behavior as well as the derailment damage, the NTSB report noted. The agency will also focus on the design of the tank cars and railcars, along with maintenance procedures and practices.

Investigators will also review the train operator’s use of wayside defect detectors and the company’s rail car inspection practices. Specifically, determining what caused the wheel bearing failure will be critical to the investigation, Homendy said.

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