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Putnam Co. landfill owners say they offered to take hazardous waste from Ohio train derailment

drone footage of east palestine
Posted at 2:29 PM, Feb 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-28 21:51:59-05

ROACHDALE — On Monday it was announced by the Environmental Protection Agency that some of the contaminated waste from the site of a fiery train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio will be moved to a landfill near Roachdale, Indiana.

Roachdale is located in northeastern Putnam County with a population of around 1,000 people. According to the council, the landfill is located around 7.5 miles outside of town.

The location of the landfill is owned by a company named Heritage Environmental Services.

Some of the waste — all solid waste from the scene — will come to Indiana, which left Governor Eric Holcomb outraged with many questions.

“I continue to object to the EPA Administrator’s decision, from Washington, D.C., to move hazardous waste from the East Palestine train derailment to Indiana. Further, there has been a lack of communication with me and other Indiana officials about this decision.

After learning third-hand that materials may be transported to our state yesterday, I directed my environmental director to reach out to the agency. The materials should go to the nearest facilities, not moved from the far eastern side of Ohio to the far western side of Indiana. I have made a request to speak to the administrator to discuss this matter. I want to know exactly what precautions will be taken in the transport and disposition of the materials.”
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb

No injuries were reported when the trail derailment occurred three weeks ago. With the potential for explosion, toxic chemicals were released in a controlled environment at the scene.

Landfill facility manager

Some toxic waste will come to Putnam County, where health officials say they will take firm precautions due to the chemicals involved.

"Like many Putnam County residents, we were surprised by the decision of Norfolk Southern to send hazardous materials from the East Palestine train derailment to the Heritage Environmental Services landfill at Roachdale, Indiana. As we learn more about this process and the chemicals involved, we will share that with residents.

We will continue to monitor the situation and work with our colleagues at the Environmental Protection Agency, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and Heritage Environmental Services. The Putnam County Health Department will perform well water testing around the Heritage Environmental site. We will make those results available once we receive them. We are thankful that if these materials are brought to Indiana, they will be in the hands of the H.E.S. professionals who are regulated through the Indiana Department of Environmental Management."
Public County Health Department

According to Heritage Environmental Services, they offered to take the chemicals for disposal from the EPA because of their ability to handle the waste.

Heritage Environmental VP discusses train derailment wastei

Materials are expected to be transported to Indiana in the next day or two. Some residents are concerned.

"I don't know if anybody in the community knows what to look for if there is some containment issue or leak," one resident told WRTV. "You don't have any control over anything like this ... we don't know what to expect."

Ali Alavai, Heritage Environmental Executive Vice President, says only contaminated soil, and not contaminated water, will be disposed of at the site.

On-site manager Eric Chris says the facility is under strict federal guidelines and if the toxic waste was to leak, they would be notified.

The EPA now is getting close to having enough certified facilities to take all of the waste from the site of the Feb. 3 derailment in East Palestine, said Debra Shore, a regional administrator with the agency.

About 1.8 million gallons of liquid waste have been collected from the derailment site, according to the Ohio EPA.

Some of the remaining liquid waste is going to a facility in Vickery, Ohio, for disposal in an underground injection well. Norfolk Southern is also shipping solid waste to an incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio.

No one was injured when 38 rail cars derailed more than three weeks ago. After fears grew about a potential explosion, officials opted to release and burn toxic vinyl chloride from five tanker cars, sending black smoke billowing into the sky.

Federal and state officials have repeatedly said air testing in the village and inside hundreds of homes hasn’t detected any concerning levels of contaminants. The state also has said the local municipal drinking water system is safe. Despite assurances, many residents are worried about what they were exposed to and how it will impact the area.

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