(EAST PALESTINE, Ohio)— The following are updates from the State of Ohio regarding remediation work at the site of the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
Grand Opening of New, Permanent East Palestine Health Clinic
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, First Lady Fran DeWine, and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA, were in East Palestine this morning for the grand opening of the East Liverpool City Hospital East Palestine Clinic.
Governor DeWine and East Liverpool Hospital CEO Krista McFadden, MSN, RN, together cut the ceremonial ribbon marking the opening of the new, permanent health clinic. The clinic replaces ODH’s temporary Health Assessment Clinic, which opened Feb. 21 in response to the concerns of East Palestine residents after the train derailment.
“The grand opening of the East Liverpool City Hospital East Palestine Clinic represents our continued commitment to this community,” said Governor DeWine. “We realize that the people of East Palestine need long-term support, and they deserve another primary care option close to home. This new clinic will provide that.”
Governor and First Lady DeWine join the Ohio Dept. of Health and East Liverpool City Hospital for the new clinic’s ribbon cutting.
Because many in the East Palestine community do not have primary care providers, the state is providing funding to ensure the clinic remains available and free for those without insurance coverage.
After the ribbon cutting, East Liverpool Hospital Medical Director Gretchen Nickell, DO, FACOI, led Governor and First Lady DeWine, Dr. Vanderhoff, and others on a tour of the facility, which is located at 139 North Walnut St.
The new clinic will offer the same services as the former clinic, but will also provide traditional comprehensive primary care, including treatment, prescriptions, lab testing, and consultation with specialists where appropriate. Physicians, registered nurses, and mental health specialists will be on hand to provide services. Referrals will be made if needed.
The clinic opened to patients Monday afternoon. Regular hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Appointments are needed and can be made by calling 330-383-6020.
Plant Tissue Testing
While in East Palestine today, Governor and First Lady DeWine also visited Lindsay’s Pine Hill Jersey Farm to observe the collection of hay and winter wheat tissue samples.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and The Ohio State University (OSU) are conducting plant tissue sampling to address concerns of the local agricultural community following the Norfolk Southern Railroad train derailment. ODA plant health inspectors will collect samples of growing crops, specifically winter wheat, pasture grasses, malting barley, and forage covers. The samples will be sent to an OSU lab and analyzed for a focused list of semi-volatile organic compounds.
Governor and First Lady DeWine observe plant sample collection on a farm in the East Palestine area.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, a commercial vehicle hauling 40,000 pounds of contaminated soil from the East Palestine train derailment site was involved in a crash on SR-165. The northbound tractor trailer traveled off the roadway and overturned onto its right side. The Ohio State Highway Patrol estimates that approximately 20,000 pounds of soil spilled onto the roadway and berm. The local fire department and the Ohio EPA are on scene. According to the Ohio EPA, the spill was contained and is not a threat to nearby waterways. The Ohio Department of Transportation has closed SR 165 at SR 617 in Mahoning County and at SR 14 in Columbiana County. The Ohio State Highway Patrol reports that the driver sustained minor injuries.
Hazardous Waste Removal
According to the Ohio EPA, approximately 11.4 million gallons of liquid wastewater have been hauled out of East Palestine in total. There is currently a pile of approximately 17,300 tons of excavated soil waiting for removal from East Palestine, versus 19,900 tons that have been removed.
Private Well Testing
The Ohio Department of Health, working with the Columbiana County Health District, has received verified laboratory results from 21 additional samples from private water systems as of noon Monday. Thirteen of those wells showed no detectable contaminants. Eight wells had trace detections at levels well below safe drinking-water standards. There is no evidence that any of those trace detections are linked to the train derailment.
In total, test results from 242 samples have been verified, and none have shown any harmful contaminant levels associated with the derailment.
Potential Underground Storage Tank Leak
Gasoline recently found in a monitoring well at a privately owned property on Taggart St. is not connected to the train derailment. According to the Ohio EPA, it is suspected that there may be an underground storage tank on the property that is leaking. Ohio EPA is overseeing the recovery of the gasoline from the well. The property owner has hired an environmental consultant to assist with the investigation into the source of the gasoline. Currently, there is no visible sheen associated with the gasoline on Sulphur Run.