NewsEast Palestine Train Derailment


'That scares me:' East Palestine residents have drinking water concerns; say pets are their proof

goats drinking water .jpg
Posted at 5:35 PM, Feb 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-15 19:09:01-05

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — The Ohio EPA reports East Palestine city water is safe to drink. While contaminants from derailed train cars spilled into some waterways and were toxic to fish, the Ohio EPA said tests have detected no contaminants in the five wells that feed the city's water system, but they are recommending that people with private wells get their water tested. Meanwhile, the head of the EPA is headed to East Palestine tomorrow to talk to residents and visit the derailment site.

RELATED: ODNR estimates 3,500 fish killed by East Palestine train derailment, spill
As trains continue to rumble through East Palestine, the rubble from the toxic train derailment on Feb. 3 is still being cleaned up.

“What happens now?” said Darlene Kohn, a resident of nearly 30 years. “I don’t want to leave. This is my home.”

Kohn lives within what was at one point the mile evacuation radius. She has cats, a dog and koi fish in her backyard pond.

“I have seven cats also, I hurry up and got them down into containers and we got them out,” Kohn said. “My dog stayed here. I had no choice; they did not give us enough warning to get him out.”

After returning home when the evacuation was lifted, she noticed a film on top of her pond and three of her koi fish dead.

“It’s sad because you know I like my fish, I put them in there,” Kohn added. “It’s sad.”

She said her dog is now experiencing unusual symptoms.

“He’s having some issues, peeing in the house, he’s never done that before,” Kohn said. “He has some patches on his skin where he is losing his hair. I don’t know why. That scares me.”

Four miles from the derailment, Kindred Spirits Rescue Ranch evacuated all 80 animals to a nearby fairground when the potential explosion alert was sent on Feb. 5. So far, the animals appear fine back home, except for one donkey.

“It did come over us, we could feel it,” said Lisa Marie Sopko, founder of Kindred Spirits Rescue Ranch. “We have one donkey that’s just a little down. I start to think about things like hay fields, where we get the hay from, what kind of situation is that going to be? I am worried about soil, what came down on our soil? Our animals are walking around all the time on the land.”

The Ohio EPA states the East Palestine municipal water is safe to drink but recommends residents who drink from private wells should get those tested since those wells sit closer to the surface.

RELATED: Safe to drink from East Palestine municipal water system, governor says

“We are definitely worried about our water. We have a pond on the side of our house for our ducks and geese, we are going to have that tested,” said Sopko. We have two wells here, so both of those are going to need to be tested.”

Kohn said for now, she and her pets are sticking to bottled water and her doctor agreed.

“I was having some breathing problems, I have a sore throat, my head is hurting— just various different things— and he said there’s no guidelines for this,” Kohn said. “For as long as he’s been practicing, there’s never been anything like it, nothing.”

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

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