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'Outrageous': Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine frustrated with stalled waste removal from East Palestine after train derailment

There is currently a pile of 24,400 tons of excavated soil waiting for removal from East Palestine. Just under 3,000 tons have been removed so far.

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is expressing his frustration as the removal of solid waste from the toxic train derailment in East Palestine seems to have ground to a halt. 

According to a release from DeWine's office on Friday, there is currently a pile of 24,400 tons of excavated soil waiting for removal from East Palestine. However, DeWine says only 2,980 tons have been transported out so far. 

The news about the unremoved waste pile comes five weeks after a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, leaving residents with numerous health and safety concerns. 

"The needs of this community are essentially getting lost in all this red tape, and piles of hazardous soil must not continue to sit stagnant in East Palestine," said DeWine in a release. "While I understand the steps the U.S. EPA is taking to ensure that the waste is disposed of in a safe and proper matter, the fact that waste removal has stalled is outrageous."

There have been four sites used for solid waste disposal so far: Ross Incineration Services in Grafton, Heritage Thermal Services in East Liverpool, U.S. Ecology Wayne Disposal in Michigan, and Heritage Environmental Services in Indiana. The two Ohio sites are incinerating the waste, while the out-of-state sites are placing the waste in landfills.

"I'm calling on the U.S. EPA and Norfolk Southern to identify and subsequently authorize more sites to take this waste immediately. All licensed hazardous waste facilities in the country are well equipped to dispose of this soil - and, quite frankly, much more dangerous waste - in a safe manner. It’s time to get this process moving.”

DeWine's office says the U.S. EPA is slowing the process by requiring pre-approval of all disposal and transport of contaminated soil and liquids from East Palestine. "This approval is an additional step above and beyond all other applicable safety management regulations required under RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) and the U.S. Department of Transportation," the governor's office stated.

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