EPA Administrator returns to East Palestine for 3rd time after train wreck

Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 8:02 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2023 at 3:42 PM EST
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COLUMBIANA COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan returned to East Palestine for the third time Tuesday to meet with residents impacted by the Feb. 3 Norfolk-Southern train derailment and controlled explosion of five railroad cars carrying the chemical vinyl chloride.

Regan also announced the opening of the new EPA Community Welcome Center located at 25 N. Market St. According to Regan, the people at the center can help coordinate air sampling and cleaning requests.

After the controlled explosion of the five train cars on Feb. 6, the chemicals were drained into a ditch and set on fire, releasing a huge chemical plume into the air.

Hundreds of people in East Palestine and 20 homes in Pennsylvania were evacuated from their residences from Feb. 5 until the evening of Feb. 8.

Residents and business owners remain very concerned with the air and water quality in the region.

Regan added they EPA continues to monitor air quality using state-of-the-art equipment. Nearly 600 homes have been screened for any contaminants.

Those living in East Palestine who have not yet requested free air sampling can call 330-849-3919 or visit the new EPA Community Welcome Center at 25 N. Market St.

State and local authorities are in charge of testing the water.

Residents near East Palestine who would like their private water systems sampled should call 330-849-3919. As test results are returned, they will be posted at columbiana-health.org/resources/.

A Health Assessment Clinic sponsored by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Columbiana County Health Department is open at the First Church of Christ, 20 W. Martin St., in East Palestine. You can make an appointment by calling 234-564-7755 or 234-564-7888.