SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) — State and local officials held a press conference Sunday afternoon to provide an update on a Norfolk Southern train that derailed on Saturday in Springfield.
Officials spoke to the public on Sunday at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Springfield. The latest conference comes after multiple cars on a train derailed on Saturday, shortly before 5 p.m.
Officials with Norfolk Southern confirmed the cars that derailed were not hazardous to the environment or public health.
“There was no release of any chemical or any hazardous material to the soil, to the air, to the water,” Ohio EPA Director Anne Vogel said. “We were, of course, tracking that closely.”
Vogel said the Ohio EPA has been on the ground in Clark County since the derailment, and will continue to be there through the clean up.
Norfolk Southern General Manager Kraig Barner said 28 cars on the 212 car train derailed Saturday. Four derailed tanker cars previously carried diesel exhaust fluid and Polyacrylamide Water Solution, an additive used in wastewater treatment.
However, Barner said some of the cars that did not derail were carrying hazardous materials.
“There was a couple liquid propane cars on there and a couple of ethanol cars,” Barner said. “The rest of the train was made up of mixed freight. A lot of steel, automotive finished automobiles and a lot of the cars that were actually derailed were empty box cars.”
Vogel said a small amount of PVC pellets did spill from a car onto the soil, but it is not a hazardous material and did not impact the soil. Crews were working to clean up the pellets that spilled.
The cause of the derailment is still unknown at this time and will be investigated by Norfolk Southern.
“We investigate every derailment and if there’s something we take away from that derailment that we need to implement change, we do that,” Barner said.
Clark County EMA Director Michelle Clements-Pitstick said the county was not notified of the train passing through. She said railroad companies only have to alert communities if the train is carrying highly flammable materials, which this train did not meet that requirement.
The electric company worked directly with city officials to help ensure the safety of city officials and officials from the organizations conducting work.
“Ohio Edison was very vigilant of keeping us safe in the area, so they had to shut down transmission,” Matthew Smith, Springfield assistant fire chief said. “They had to ground out all of the service for us.”
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also announced on Twitter it is investigating the derailment and investigators plan to arrive on scene tomorrow.
The full version of the press conference can be seen in the player below.