As fears of further contamination from the toxic waste loomed, a temporary halt was ordered in the transfer of contaminated waste from the site of the train crash in Ohio, East Palestine by the federal environmental authorities earlier this month
Hazardous waste disposal facilities near Detroit and Houston have been planning to receive the majority of contaminated soil and water from the train wreck site in East Palestine, increasing the risk of the spread of dangerous chemicals in the environment elsewhere.
Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Debra Shore on Saturday said that rail company Norfolk Southern was ordered by the agency to “pause” shipments from the wreck site but promised that the removal of toxic waste will be resumed “very soon”.
“Everyone wants this contamination gone from the community. They don’t want the worry, and they don’t want the smell, and we owe it to the people of East Palestine to move it out of the community as quickly as possible,” said Shore.
She added that the responsibility of disposal of toxic waste was solely on the rail company which provided the Ohio environmental officials with the names of shortlisted and utilised disposal sites.
From now on, disposal plans including transportation routes for contaminated waste and location will be reviewed and approved by the EPA, she said.
“EPA will ensure that all waste is disposed of in a safe and lawful manner at EPA-certified facilities to prevent further release of hazardous substances and impacts to communities,” Shore added.
She added that the officials have understood the concerns raised by the residents as well as others and were reviewing “the transport of some of this waste over long distances and finding the appropriate permitted and certified sites to take the waste”.