East Palestine Update: Residents Can Safely Return Home
February 08, 2023
EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, East Palestine Fire Chief and Incident Commander Keith Drabick, and local, state, and federal officials representing both states announced today that evacuated residents in and around East Palestine can now safely return home.
Hundreds of residents evacuated their homes after a Norfolk Southern Railroad train carrying vinyl chloride derailed in Columbiana County on Friday night. To avert a possible explosion, the railroad conducted a controlled release of the chemicals, which discharged toxic and potentially deadly fumes into the air on Monday afternoon.
Air quality samples in the area of the wreckage and in nearby residential neighborhoods have consistently showed readings at points below safety screening levels for contaminants of concern. Based on this information, state and local health officials determined that it is now safe for community members to return to their residences.
There will be ongoing air monitoring in the area, but for those who would like air quality readings to be conducted within their homes, Norfolk Southern Railroad has hired an independent contractor to work with local law enforcement, the U.S. EPA, and state officials to take air quality samples and provide results at no charge to residents. Free testing of water from private wells in the impacted area will also be offered by the independent contractor hired by the railroad. Testing will be offered for every private well in Pennsylvania. In the interim, those with private water wells are encouraged to use bottled water, which will be supplied by Norfolk Southern. Those who remain uncomfortable returning home at this time can also request assistance with hotel expenses from the railroad.
Residents with questions about hotel assistance, water testing, or air sampling should call Norfolk Southern’s Family Assistance Center at 800-230-7049.
Media with questions on support for residents can contact the railroad at 404-420-4444 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The governors and incident commander are grateful for support received from local, state, federal, and private entities including but not limited to those from East Palestine, New Waterford, Negley, Springfield, Columbiana, Leetonia, Beaver Township, Salem, Perry Township, Lisbon, Boardman, Poland, Canfield, Youngstown Airport, Liverpool Township, Calcutta, Glenmoor, Austintown, New Middletown, Wellsville, Highland Township, Franklin Township, Lowellville, West Point Township, Hanover Township, Damascus, Homeworth, East Liverpool, Columbiana County Hazmat, Columbiana County EMA, Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office, Columbiana County Commissioners, Ellsworth, Beloit, Mahoning County Hazmat, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Unity Township, Ohio Incident Management Team, Ohio Department of Transportation, Columbia Gas, Ohio Department of Public Safety, Ohio National Guard, Ohio Emergency Management Agency, Ohio EPA, Dominion Gas, Columbiana County Department of Health, Ohio Department of Health, Beaver Falls, Hooktown, Darlington, South Beaver, Big Knob, Enon Valley, West Mayfield, Pine Run, Beaver County, Shell Emergency Response Team, Beaver County Airport, Lawrence County Airport, North Swickley, Franklin Township, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Pennsylvania EPA, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania State Police, Conway, Chewton, Northwestern EMS, US EPA, Norfolk Southern Police & Hazmat, CTEH, National Transportation Safety Board, TC Energy, SRS US Ecology.