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Gov. DeWine expresses concern regarding delay to remove contaminated soil from East Palestine

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Posted at 5:11 PM, Mar 10, 2023

Gov. Mike DeWine expressed concern regarding the stall in the removal of contaminated soil from the Feb. 3 train derailment work site in East Palestine in an update provided by his office Friday afternoon.

There is currently a pile of approximately 24,400 tons of excavated soil waiting for removal from East Palestine, versus only 2,980 tons that have actually been removed, the news release said.

DeWine and the Ohio EPA are concerned that the contaminated soil presents a threat for future contamination and injury to East Palestine residents until the soil is completely removed.

"The needs of this community are essentially getting lost in all this red tape, and piles of hazardous soil must not continue to sit stagnant in East Palestine," said DeWine. "While I understand the steps the U.S. EPA is taking to ensure that the waste is disposed of in a safe and proper matter, the fact that waste removal has stalled is outrageous. I'm calling on the U.S. EPA and Norfolk Southern to identify and subsequently authorize more sites to take this waste immediately. All licensed hazardous waste facilities in the country are well equipped to dispose of this soil - and, quite frankly, much more dangerous waste - in a safe manner. It’s time to get this process moving.”

The waste must be disposed of at a permitted hazardous waste treatment and disposal facility. All permitted treatment and disposal facilities must meet the requirements of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s (RCRA) hazardous waste permitting program, which ensures the safe management of hazardous waste in a manner that protects public health and the environment, the news release said.

In his testimony before Congress Thursday, Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw said, "We also are working to safely remove affected soil, and our crews have removed more than 2,300 tons from the site. We have removed waste to landfills specifically engineered and permitted to safely handle this type of material. Our work will continue until the job is done."

RELATED: Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw testifies in front of U.S. Senate committee

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