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Grafton incineration company agrees to take solid waste from East Palestine cleanup

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Posted at 11:22 PM, Feb 27, 2023

A Grafton, Ohio incinerator business said it has agreed to accept waste from the East Palestine train derailment after the EPA announced that two Ohio facilities already accepting waste from the site don’t have enough capacity to handle it all.

Ross Incineration Services, Inc. will accept some of the solid waste from the site of the derailment which spilled thousands of gallons of vinyl chloride and other toxic chemicals into the environment.

The waste being sent to Ross Incineration will consist of soil, gravel and debris, like plastic and wood, in addition to what the company describes as "small concentrations” of vinyl chloride, the most toxic chemical of highest concern for the health and safety of residents.

“We really do want to make that clear. The amount of that particular substance is minimal compared to what was originally spilled in East Palestine,” said one company representative during a news conference Monday.

Leaders with the company said they were approached over the weekend.

The CEO said incineration is the best available technology to safely handle this material.

“Not only are we destroying the organic waste in very high temperatures, but the air pollution control equipment removes 99.99% of all the organics, so that the only thing going out of our stack is basically steam,” a company representative said. “We not only have the most stringent air pollution control equipment that EPA requires, but we continually have to test our system under the auspices of the agency to verify that we're achieving that destruction. And in fact, we just did one of those tests last fall.”

They anticipate getting between 4,600 and 6,000 tons of waste in total.

The deliveries, which could start as early as Tuesday, will be by truck and run throughout the week.

Norfolk Southern will also begin shipping waste from the cleanup to Heritage Environmental Services, a hazardous waste landfill in Roseville, Indiana, the EPA announced Monday.

“Norfolk Southern must comply with all federal, state and local requirements related to transportation,” Shore said. “These extensive requirements cover everything from proper waste labeling, packaging, and handling, as well as requirements for shipping documents that provide information about the wastes and where they're going.”

The EPA said that they will continue to evaluate options for the safe disposal of the waste material from the cleanup that have the capacity sufficient to handle it.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore said they notified elected officials and state agencies before approving the shipment of waste, but the goal was to secure the capacity for all cleanup waste as quickly as possible.

“I want to remind folks that EPA has decades of experience dealing with hazardous waste, both from cleaning up contaminated sites to regulating the landfills where it's disposed of,” Shore said. “As I've said previously, we know it's far better to have it safely stored in a properly constructed and monitored disposal facility than to remain here any longer than is necessary.”

Monday’s announcement comes after members of another Ohio community, Vickery, said they felt blind-sided and upset by the decision to send hazardous liquid waste from East Palestine to Vickery Environmental, where it will be disposed of in an underground injection well.

Watch our Monday report about the Vickery community's response to the news:

People in Vickery upset about hazardous liquid on its way from East Palestine

RELATED: People in Vickery upset about hazardous liquid on its way from East Palestine

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