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Norfolk Southern: Remediation efforts ongoing at East Palestine train derailment site

The south track was reinstalled following testing that confirmed the impacted soil under the track had been excavated.

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Work is still underway at the train derailment site in East Palestine.

Norfolk Southern provided an update Saturday, saying that the excavation of impacted soil beneath the removed south track is complete. The company will now focus on track restoration before moving on to remediation work on the north track next week. 

The track was reinstalled following testing that confirmed the impacted soil under the track had been excavated. The company said in a release that trains may run on both tracks to ensure the replaced track settles properly and is safe for normal traffic.

Following the derailment on Feb. 3, the railway company pledged to make sure the site is fully remediated, paying for associated costs.

“We are making progress every day on our commitment to clean up the derailment site and make it right for the community of East Palestine,” said Norfolk Southern President and Chief Executive Officer Alan H. Shaw. “Today marks a major milestone in the remediation process, and we will not stop until the job is done safely and thoroughly.”

Shaw is expected to testify before the Ohio Senate Select Committee on Rail Safety on April 18. The federal government also filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern last month asking for fines under the Clean Water Act and for judgment to hold the company accountable for past and future costs.

The train derailment – a subsequent controlled burn – released chemicals like vinyl chloride into the area. Despite a large fish kill in area creaks and residents posting videos of a chemical sheen in the water – ongoing monitoring and testing of the air and water have so far been deemed safe.

The company has excavated and transported more than 25,000 tons of soil to off-site locations for proper disposal. 

Sulphur Run was also rerouted around the site and Norfolk Southern continues to do downstream testing with contaminated sections undergoing remediation. More than 12 million gallons of impacted water have been taken from the site.

Some near the site have complained about a variety of symptoms including headaches, burning lips, rashes and breathing troubles.

The state opened a permanent health clinic earlier this month following those concerns. The clinic offers testing and answers to possible health concerns that residents may have in the months after the derailment.

For more information on what the railway company is doing in East Palestine, visit their website here.

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