EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – Debra Shore is the administrator of the U.S. EPA’s Region 5. She’s one of the people most responsible for the clean-up and monitoring of East Palestine.
“If you look at the daily numbers, we’ve been exceeding shipments of solid waste of over 1,000 tons a day. I think yesterday it may have been 1,400 tons. So they’re really moving the solids off site and the liquids off site too,” said Shore.
Shore says they still need to remove the contamination from the streams. And then…
“There’s restoration of the stream bed and stream banks,” said Shore.
Will the streams need dredging? Shore thought that was going too far.
“Well, it may be a matter of degree where they’re not removing the entire stream bed,” said Shore.
At another location near the derailment site, gravel was spewing from a machine perhaps in preparation of Norfolk Southern possibly reopening the south tracks Friday.
The EPA has said it will hold Norfolk Southern accountable. That tough talk came after the trains started running moments after the evacuation order was lifted.
“On tracks that had contaminated soil under them and through areas where there was contaminated water, which was a second assault on the people of East Palestine,” said Shore.
Shore also says Norfolk Southern, after the tracks were dug up, wanted to fill the trenches before the soil was tested.
“And that’s where EPA said no. We have to wait and see that all the contaminated chemicals and all are out of the soil. That we’ve dug deep enough so it is clean,” said Shore.
In a statement, Norfolk Southern said, “Our initial plans for the track removal involved using excavation in combination with other proven remediation technologies to address the contamination that remained under the tracks. After collaboration with a team of local, state and federal officials, a new plan was developed to use excavation as the sole remediation approach. We’ve appreciated our collaboration with local, state and federal officials since day one and will continue to work with the U.S. EPA in developing our remediation plans.”
Shore also says the Columbiana County Health District is working on a plan to monitor private water wells for 10 years.
“At the end of that 10 years, then they’ll decide,” said Shore.
Shore says this was her sixth trip to East Palestine. Over the past six weeks, she has been there 20 days. She again reiterated the EPA’s commitment to monitor the situation over the long haul.