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Ohio train derailment update: Waste from East Palestine to be shipped to Grafton

Ross Incineration in Grafton will be one of four waste disposal sites, which also includes one just 20 miles from the derailment site in East Palestine.

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Federal and state leaders are continuing the process of removing the toxic waste material from the train derailment site in East Palestine. 

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that a Lorain County site has been chosen as one of four places to dispose of the waste from the derailment. Ross Incineration Services Inc. in Grafton will join two other Ohio locations, Waste Management's Vickery location and Heritage Thermal in East Liverpool. Heritage is located only 20 miles from East Palestine. In addition, Heritage Environmental Services in Roachdale, Indiana has been tapped as a location for waste disposal. 

The announcement comes after the EPA granted Norfolk Southern permission to resume transporting shipments of waste out of Columbiana County following a pause over the weekend.

"The two facilities in Vickery and East Liverpool don't have enough capacity to handle all of the liquid and solid waste from this cleanup," explained Debra Shore, Administrator for Region 5 of the U.S. EPA. "So we continued to work with the railroad and our state partners to identify other disposal locations."

Norfolk Southern will start shipping solid waste to Ross on Tuesday, as well as other waste materials to Indiana. Shore said the EPA notified elected leaders from state and local governments before approving the waste shipment plan.

"The addition of these disposal locations gets us closer to having enough capacity to finish the cleanup and get all the waste out of East Palestine as quickly as possible," Shore added. There is no timetable yet as to when the waste removal would be completed, although Shore did say the hope is for Norfolk Southern to begin removing tracks within a week. 

Here are other headlines from Monday's FEMA East Palestine briefing:

--EPA Administrator Michael Regan is scheduled to make his third appearance on the ground in East Palestine on Tuesday. Regan's visit comes as the EPA opens a new Community Welcoming Center, where greater East Palestine residents can meet with agency staff members to learn about resources to support the community. 

--The EPA has set up a new information line at 866-361-0526. It will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. to provide various services, including guidance for accessing ongoing air-monitoring, water sampling, as well as information about scheduling cleaning services. 

--There will be a public meeting on Thursday at the East Palestine High School gymnasium. The EPA plans to demonstrate air monitors and how they work at the meeting. Environmental activist Erin Brockovich tweeted that she plans to return to the village on Thursday as well.

--FEMA says they have 66 teams on the ground in East Palestine engaging with the community. As of Monday, they had engaged with over 540 families since starting their door-to-door operation.

--East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway was asked if he was satisfied with the federal and state response to the health concerns of his residents. "Yes and no," he replied. "I really think they're working as hard as he can. I do question the people getting rashes and what's causing them. They are saying everything is safe and we taken them at their word, but we have to find out what's causing it."

You can watch Monday's full briefing below:

Also on Monday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's office released some statistics about the amount of waste that has been removed from East Palestine since the cleanup began:

Solid Waste

According to the Ohio EPA, approximately 4,832 cubic yards of contaminated soil have been collected from the derailment site.

  • Approximately 280 tons of contaminated soil have been disposed of at U.S. Ecology Wayne Disposal, a licensed hazardous waste disposal facility in Michigan. This disposal occurred prior to the U.S. EPA's pause on waste disposal.
  • Two 28-cubic-yard boxes of contaminated soil were sent Monday to Heritage Thermal Services, a licensed hazardous waste disposal facility in East Liverpool, Ohio

Liquid Waste

The Ohio EPA reports that approximately 1.8 million gallons of liquid waste have been collected from the derailment site.

  • Approximately 1.249 million gallons were disposed of at Texas Molecular, a licensed solid waste disposal facility in Texas. (Disposal before EPA pause)
  • Approximately 319,002 gallons were disposed of at U.S. Ecology Romulus, a licensed solid waste disposal facility in Michigan. (Disposal before EPA pause)
  • Approximately 94,372 gallons were disposed of at Vickery Environmental, a licensed solid waste disposal facility in Vickery, Ohio. This total includes liquid disposed of both before and after the U.S. EPA's pause on waste disposal.

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