EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) — Norfolk Southern Corporation announced in a press release that the company is providing over $1 million to over 700 families in East Palestine who were impacted by the evacuation.
According to the press release, costs include reimbursements and cash advancements for lodging, travel, food, clothes and other related items.
Also included is direct support for residents through Norfolk Southern’s Family Assistance Center, equipment for first responders and continued environmental testing and monitoring, which is being done in coordination with the Ohio and U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) and other environmental agencies.
The press release lists other forms of community assistance as:
- Donated $220,000 to the East Palestine Fire Department to replace Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) air packs, which allow firefighters to breathe compressed air when responding to fires.
- Provided more than 100 air purifiers for residents to use in their homes. Air purifiers are also being purchased for the East Palestine municipal building in coordination with the City Manager.
- Coordinated and funded cleaning and air monitoring services for the East Palestine Elementary and High Schools.
- Developing a charitable fund to support the East Palestine community. This goes well beyond an initial contribution of $25,000 to the Ohio Red Cross to support the shelter established at East Palestine High School.
Forms of environmental monitoring that were implemented include:
- Completed more than 340 in-home air tests in conjunction with U.S. EPA, with more than 100 additional tests scheduled. In-home air monitoring has not shown any detections of substances related to the incident and does not indicate a health risk.
- Thousands of data points have been collected during outdoor air monitoring in the community and continues to indicate no risk to health from incident-related substances.
- Sampled the Village of East Palestine’s drinking water supply wells, drinking water system, and private wells in areas potentially impacted by the incident. Sample results will be available in the next week.
- Established a Well Task Force to install monitoring points around the impacted waterways and incident site.
- Started excavating soil from the incident site and sampling the soil before safe disposal.
- Contacting residents on well water in the vicinity of the derailment to conduct water testing, which encompasses 38 wells. That testing will be done in conjunction with environmental and health agencies, and we will continue to work with them to identify other private drinking water wells for testing.
Norfolk Southern said that residents and businesses who have questions or need financial assistance should visit the Family Assistance Center at Abundant Life Church, located 46469 State Route 46, New Waterford, Ohio, or call 1-800-230-7049.
East Palestine residents who want air and water testing should contact the Residential Re-Entry Request Hotline at (330) 849-3919. If residents have any questions or concerns, they may call the CTEH Taggart Road Hotline at (234) 542-6474 to speak with a toxicologist.