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EPA agrees to pause shipment of train derailment materials to Indiana

Train Derailment-Ohio
Posted at 10:44 AM, Mar 07, 2023

INDIANA — The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has agreed to pause further shipments of hazardous waste from the East Palestine, Ohio trail derailment to Indiana.

Multiple shipments of waste have already been delivered to Heritage Environmental Services in Putnam County, but no more will as testing of the materials is complete.

Heritage Environmental Services says it received around 34 shipments of toxic waste before it was halted.

The governor's office told WRTV they will not provide further statements until testing is complete.

When it comes to how long testing will take and what testing was done on the shipments already buried, Heritage Environmental Services referred WRTV to IDEM, Pace Labs, the third party company doing testing and the EPA.

Among the substances coming in the solid waste (mostly soil) to Heritage Environmental is vinyl chloride, a colorless gas, and butyl acrylate, which is used in paint and caulk.

According to the National Cancer Institute, vinyl chloride is used to make PVC and as a combustion product in tobacco smoke.

READ MORE: Congressman Baird requests halt of hazardous materials delivery from East Palestine in letter to IDEM

In a statement to WRTV, IDEM says the EPA agreed to pause shipments to Indiana until testing proves there are no harmful levels of toxins.

WRTV also sent questions to Pace Labs, who told investigative reporter Rachael Wilkerson "unfortunately we are not in a position to help with your story."

“The EPA never should have sent one ounce of this material into Indiana without testing it for dioxins in the first place. This halted shipment should stay halted, and the Biden EPA should explain why they started shipping material to Indiana instead of Michigan as originally planned," Senator Mike Braun said in a statement Tuesday.

Last week, Heritage Environmental Services, the company that owns the landfill, held a town hall attended by hundreds of residents.

The company says they offered to take the chemicals for disposal from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because of their ability to handle the waste.

Read the full statement below

Governor Holcomb has directed 3rd party soil sampling for Dioxins to begin immediately. IDEM was present as samples were taken from the Heritage landfill on Saturday. We will share any results with the public in an effort to be open and transparent as soon as they become available.

Additionally, the US EPA, at Governor Holcomb’s urging, has agreed to pause shipping any further material to Indiana from the East Palestine train spill until further testing can confirm there are no harmful levels of dioxins in the soil.

Heritage’s permitted hazardous waste landfill is designed and monitored to handle waste containing dioxins. Dioxins, when mixed with a listed hazardous waste or a characteristic hazardous waste, may need to meet land disposal restrictions before disposal.

IDEM approved Heritage’s Class 2 Permit Modification on July 15, 2020. As noted, the modification revised “various waste analysis procedures in the permit’s Waste Analysis Plan" however, the permit still includes waste stream sampling and analysis requirements.

The Heritage site enforcement case centers around the fact that Heritage and IDEM disagree on a whether or not a “macroencapsulation bag” qualifies as a treatment standard [] for hazardous waste.