Federal, state and local officials on the ground in East Palestine say progress is being made

Published: Feb. 25, 2023 at 10:56 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Federal, state and local teams on the ground in East Palestine say there is good news for a community in crisis, in the form of more help, including cleaning services and another public informational meeting.

Debra Shore is with the U.S. EPA, “The EPA has conducted 594 home re-entry screenings to date and continues air monitoring at 15 stations within the community. I’m pleased that they’ll be no exceedences for residential air quality standards and outdoor air quality remains normal. We will continue to offer the air screenings to any resident within the evacuation zone who wants a screening. Yesterday, we set up a new information hotline. It’s posted on the EPA’s website: 866-361-0526.”

The EPA is now also ordering Norfolk Southern to stop shipping waste from the site of the toxic train wreck. The federal agency will take over how and where contaminated waste is moved.

Shore makes it clear the decision is not because Norfolk Southern has done anything wrong when it comes to waste removal, it’s because of concerns from other states that could receive the contaminated waste like Texas.

The EPA also announced that residence and business owners will be able to begin the intake process for scheduling cleaning services.

The federal, state and local agencies all promising they are working with the community to get life back to normal in East Palestine and the surrounding communities.

When asked if the EPA will examine whether that controlled explosion of vinyl chloride backfired by sending more hazardous chemicals in the air, Shore said, “It was a well founded decision based on the information they had available at the time, with a highly explosive toxic chemical.”

None of the agencies on hand could answer why people in the community have been diagnosed with symptoms including chemical laryngitis. But, they defended air and water quality testing so far.

A representative with the CDC says a survey will be performed, and residents asked if they are having symptoms they believer are related to the train derailment.