East Palestine, Ohio Train Derailment Environmental Contamination and Monitoring

Brian Oram, License Professional Geologist
Featured Water Professional

Citizen Resource Information Regarding Air, Soil, and Water Contamination and Monitoring

State and Federal Response

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

In a press release dated February 16, 2023, “Shapiro Administration announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will be conducting independent water sampling to closely monitor water contamination risks related to the East Palestine train derailment that took place on February 3, 2023. In addition, DEP is assisting concerned public water suppliers in evaluating their source water at the Beaver Falls Municipal Authority’s surface water intake on the Beaver River.

My Administration is taking steps to independently verify the safety of Pennsylvanians’ water — and will continue to do so in the months to come,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “As we work to learn more about this incident and hold Norfolk Southern accountable, the Commonwealth will also lead the way so that Pennsylvanians are aware of and protected from any threats to their safety and resources that may arise. Our independent testing will ensure the data we are receiving is accurate and timely so we can partner effectively with local communities to provide the information Pennsylvanians need and deserve.”

DEP will be taking independent samples from Norfolk Southern sampling sites for examination by the DEP Bureau of Laboratories. DEP will also be taking independent water samples in Pennsylvania within a 2-mile radius of the derailment site.

Residents with concerns about private well water should contact the DEP Southwest Regional Office at 412-442-4000 for more information about well testing.

They are testing for DEP is using its own laboratories to test for volatile organic compounds that were on some of the train cars, including vinyl chloride, ethylene glycol, butyl acrylates, ethylhexyl acrylate, benzene, and ethanol.  Initial lab results on the first set of water samples will be posted on this web page approximately March 1. Lab result summaries will be continually updated on this webpage as they are received and individual lab reports will be sent to each homeowner.  The monitoring by Pennsylvania is not as comprehensive as the EPA.

Samples will be taken monthly for at least six months and up to a year to watch for any long-term impacts.

DEP has not observed any contaminants of concern leaving a 2-mile area around the derailment site and entering into Pennsylvania. DEP is coordinating with Ohio EPA, Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), Federal EPA, and Norfolk Southern’s contractor, CTEH, to review sample information for surface waters.

Website Information: East Palestine Train Derailment: What DEP is Doing

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Website Information: Train Derailment Dashboard

Ohio Department of Environmental Protection

Website Information: East Palestine Train Derailment

As of right now (2/25/2023), there is no indication of risk to East Palestine Public Water customers. Treated drinking water shows no detection of contaminants associated with the derailment. This data does NOT apply to private wells. If you have a private well, you should have it tested before using water from it.

Water Testing Results – East Palestine Municipal Drinking Water Results Target Analytes – Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Semivolatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs)

FinalResults, Feb. 17 (Sampling dateFeb. 12, 2023)

Final Results,Feb 17 (Sampling date Feb. 10, 2023)

Preliminary Results, Feb.14, 2023 (Sampling date Feb. 12, 2023)

Preliminary Results, Feb.15, 2023 (Sampling date Feb. 10, 2023)

Resource Document for Residents

Air and Water Testing – (330) 849-3919

EPA Response

Website Information: East Palestine, Ohio Train Derailment Emergency Response

EPA Soil and Sediment Sampling Data: East Palestine, Ohio Train Derailment

EPA Water Data - East Palestine, Ohio Train Derailment

Data file – Laboratory Data 2/8/2023   From the data, the primary detects are in the diesel range organics, gasoline range organics, oil range organics, with detectable levels of acenaphthene, acenaphthylene, acetophenone, anthracene, Benzo(a)anthracene, Benzo(a)pyrene, Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, Benzo(b)fluoranthene, Benzo(k)fluoranthene,1- Chrysene, fluoranthene, Fluorene, Methylnaphthalene, 2-Methylnaphthalene, Benzo(b)fluoranthene, Benzo(k)fluoranthene,  Phenanthrene, Pyridine, , 1,2,3-Trichlorobenzene, Xylenes, Total, vinyl chloride, fluoranthene, naphthalene, phenanthrene, pyrene and others.

EPA Air Sampling Data - East Palestine, Ohio Train Derailment

EPASoil and Sediment Sampling Data: East Palestine, Ohio Train Derailment

The KnowYourH2O Team's Recommendations to Private Well Owners and Public Water System customers.

1. Do Not Panic!

2. Follow formal guidance from local officials and Authorities.

3. Order a copy or request a copy of our Educational Drinking Water Guide for Well Water and City Water.

4. Take Photos and Maintain a Journal of Your Observations

5. Watch what you are asked to sign.

6. You may want to conduct your own informational water testing as a screening test

We recommended the following Test Kits:

National Testing Laboratory – Deluxe Well Water Kit

Tap Score  - Extended Well WaterTest

7. After this testing, it may be advisable to hirer a consult and conduct certified testing for specific water quality parameters.  It is important to note that organic contamination of water can also be associated with and cause an increase in the metals content of the water, especially metals that are related to the oxidation reduction potential of the water and related to the biological decomposition of contaminants and problems first may show up as a nuisance issue, such as a nuisance odor or discolored water.  Just because the water does not have a smell, bad taste, or look funny – DOES Not Mean it is OK to Drink.  Please Get Informed, Get Tested, and then Act.  Again, please Do Not Panic!

8. This is no time to be one of the 12 Monkeys!

If you need help reviewing water quality data, please contact the Keystone Clean Water Team.