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East Palestine area homeowners demand more answers after train derailment

Townhall meeting addressing resident safety concerns set for Wednesday
East Palestine area homeowners demand more answers after train derailment
Posted at 11:01 PM, Feb 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-15 07:45:41-05

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Chris Ammon has been keeping his own video blog on conditions at Leslie Run Creek, which runs through his backyard, following the chemical contamination caused by the Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern train derailment.

Ammon lives two miles from the derailment site, but said hazardous chemicals have made their way into his neighborhood through Leslie Run and said the Ohio EPA and Norfolk Southern have still not showed up to conduct testing in his area.

East Palestine area homeowners demand more answers after train derailment
Chris Ammon shared pictures of dead fish found in Leslie Run following the Feb. 3 train derailment.

“My grand babies, that’s why I bought this property, so they could play in the creek and have a good time," Ammon said. "I’m not putting them in it this...I don’t know if I’ll ever put them back in it. But I’m paying to get my water tested regardless; I have to have peace of mind, but I have to find a company that isn’t connected to Norfolk."

The Ohio EPA released a letter sent to its attention from Arcadis U.S. Inc. which was hired by Norfolk Southern to help lead the clean-up effort.

RELATED: Norfolk Southern releases Remedial Action Work Plan for cleanup of East Palestine train derailment site

The letter outlined a series of clean-up procedures already conducted by the company, including the vacuum collection of spilled liquids, air quality monitoring, soil sampling and residential water well surveys.

However, when it comes to the timetable for further clean-up the company explained in the letter: “The exact scope and timeline which activities will be conducted is uncertain and will be dependent upon receipt and interpretation of further characterization data."

East Palestine area homeowners demand more answers after train derailment
Aeration taking place at Leslie Run creek just outside East Palestine.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine hosted a Feb. 14 news conference with leading Ohio health officials who urged East Palestine residents using water wells to drink bottled water until their private water systems are adequately tested. Health officials reported that there are still not significant confirmed reports of pets or livestock being impacted by the derailment, but said residents should turn to their veterinarians if they see signs of chemical impact.

RELATED: Gov. DeWine says derailed Norfolk Southern train not categorized as carrying high hazardous materials

Meanwhile, the Village of East Palestine will host a Feb. 15 town hall meeting at the East Palestine High School auditorium starting at 7 p.m., where residents with health concerns can take part in a question and answer session.

East Palestine area homeowners demand more answers after train derailment
Chris Ammon pointed to evidence of chemical contamination on his property just outside East Palestine, Ohio.

Ammon told News 5 he believes testing and the flow of information from Norfolk Southern and state and federal investigators is simply not adequate in light of the potential hazard.

"They were saying today that it’s not as polluted as we think, but I think they’re kind of lying to everybody here," Ammon said. “I don’t know, we’ll find out, they’ve got to give some true answers, not just telling everybody it’s OK.”

CLICK HERE to read News 5's extensive coverage of the East Palestine train derailment.