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It will take 30,000 truckloads to remove contaminants from East Palestine train derailment, DeWine says

Posted at 5:17 PM, Mar 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-01 19:15:25-05

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Governor Mike DeWine alongside First Lady Fran DeWine, toured the contaminated parts of East Palestine on Wednesday. Resident, William Hugar, who lives right behind the train derailment is amazed the tracks are up and running again.

“They quickly got the tracks back down so they could get right in again because they know they got a lot to pay for this,” Hugar said.

He remembers the wall of fire that went up and down the tracks about three weeks ago.

“I was like holy cow," said Hugar. "There was fire going all the way back to the first crossing.”

The Ohio EPA Director, Ann Vogel, reassured residents the contaminants are leaving town.

“That is now being hauled off and out of East Palestine, same with the liquids that have been contained over time, those are now being hauled off in tankers,” Vogel said.

Norfolk Southern has submitted its detailed cleanup plan that is now under review by the U.S. and Ohio EPA. Vogel highlighted how the railroad operator will be responsible for replacing all the soil on each side of the tracks. Each side needs to be done separately and can only take 10 day each to complete.

“We’ve done the center, now we need to do both sides,” Vogel said.

DeWine saw Sulphur Run for the first time, which flows directly through East Palestine. The EPA said it's still highly contaminated. DeWine said will take nearly 30,000 truckloads to remove all the contaminants caused by the train derailment.

“The whole goal here is to make this community safe and it can’t happen overnight and you can’t get this stuff out of there overnight,” DeWine said.

Building cleaning is also underway, which U.S. EPA Director, Michael Regan, said will be free of charge for residents and businesses. News 5 spoke to owner of a building getting washed. The owner said he hired an outside company to clean the inside and outside of his building to make his tenants feel safer.

Hugar went to the EPA Community Welcome Center to sign-up to have the outside of his home cleaned. He isn't sure when the EPA will get the job done.

“They said wait a couple days, put my name in, so we can get it all done,” Hugar said.

Despite this environmental disaster occurring less than a month ago, trains continue to roll through town, which Hugar feels is the biggest slap in the face in all of this.

“That’s the deal, big corporation let's get it up, let’s get it running, you know hell with the people.” said Hugar.

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

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