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Ohio train derailment update: Grafton residents concerned as city prepares for East Palestine toxic waste

Ross Incineration in Grafton is one of the facilities that will handle the toxic waste from East Palestine. Nearby residents have health concerns.

GRAFTON, Ohio — 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 Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine.

Ross Incineration Services Inc. in Grafton will handle hazardous waste materials ranging from soil, to gravel, to wood and plastics. The materials will be incinerated and turned to ash at the facility.

“This is what our experts do. They’re the best in the business," says Andy Sedlak, corporate communications supervisor for Ross. "They are used to working with materials that you have to be careful with, and this particular waste stream will be no different.”

The toxic waste materials will arrive by truck, going right past Daisie Reish's home.

"I have fought Ross Environmental from day one. My husband's father fought them and he was 92 when he died and he’s been going for like 20 years. So we’ve been fighting them for forever and we just can’t get anywhere," Reish explains.

Reish is worried that living so close to the Grafton facility has impacted her health and that of others in the neighborhood. It's not just the East Palestine waste that has her concerned. 

“My question is why they’re so concerned about (East) Palestine, but they aren’t concerned about us when the chemicals are being brought up here and dumped at Ross. They’re not dumping it, they’re using the incinerator," she adds.

But Ross officials say there's no reason to worry. They are in compliance with the strictest EPA standards and regularly handle hazardous waste, citing more than 70 years of experience as a company. 

Sedlak adds that Ross' incinerator is specially designed to handle hazardous organic contaminants, like the ones found in the derailment spill. "It destroys 99.9% of the organic material. Anything that is not destroyed is contained," he says.

Ross Incineration Services Inc. in Grafton join two other Ohio locations, Waste Management's Vickery location and Heritage Thermal in East Liverpool, as disposal sites for the derailment waste. Heritage is located only 20 miles from East Palestine. In addition, Heritage Environmental Services in Roachdale, Indiana has been tapped as an additional location for waste disposal.

"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," stated Debra Shore, Administrator for Region 5 of the U.S. EPA, on Monday. 

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.

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