East Palestine residents face concerns upon return following train derailment

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — People in East Palestine, Ohio, still have a lot of concerns after the evacuation order was lifted -- the food, the water and their animals.

That’s why they’re adamant about getting independent testing done.

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“What’s going to happen moving forward is we’re going to have to have to keep testing. Keep testing. Keep testing,” said Lisa Marie Sopko, Kindred Spirits Rescue Ranch founder.

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The ranch is only about a ten-minute drive from East Palestine. They just brought nearly 80 animals back to the property after evacuating.

“We did have an independent study done on the air quality and the air quality is fine here,” Sopko said.

Now, they’re working on getting their water tested.

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“My biggest concern is the water at this point and what might be in the soil,” Sopko said.

Leslie Run flows through Cathey Reese’s backyard in Negley, Ohio. Her biggest concern is also the water after seeing dead fish in it.

A representative with the Ohio EPA says they’re aware of this, but people don’t need to worry.

“Don’t tell me it’s safe. Something is going on if the fish are floating in the creek,” Resse said.

In the meantime, Cathy says she’s using bottled water and paper plates.

And Sopko is prepared to truck in water if she needs to.

“We have called the number to have our well tested. We haven’t heard back yet. We were told we would have to wait until they were told what to test for. So that’s kind of what we’re waiting on,” Spoko said.

Officials with Norfolk Southern said they’ll pay for people to get their wells and air tested independently.