Last load of contaminated soil removed from site of East Palestine train derailment

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Eight months after the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Norfolk Southern has removed the last load of contaminated soil from the site.

More than 167,000 tons were hauled away.

“I’m excited to get out of the phase of just remove into ‘Let’s figure out if there’s anything left,’ and if there is anything left, what’s the best way for the community and everybody involved to make that go away,” Norfolk Southern Environmental Operations Manager Bob Scoble said.

During a media tour of the site Monday, Norfolk Southern said they will continue to conduct air and water monitoring in the area.

“We’re going to be sampling till March or April and once we get those samples we have to look at the results and see what’s there,” Scoble said.

Officials have said the monitoring done so far shows it’s safe.

“The science is what it is you trust, the science,” Scoble said. “The science says we’re getting it and we’ve gotten it all.”

As Norfolk Southern plans to haul in clean dirt to backfill the location along the tracks where they removed all the contaminated soil, some residents say they still have concerns.

“I have two cats and I won’t let them outside because I don’t know what’s in the ground and if it can hurt them,” said Melanie Davis, an East Palestine resident.

But Norfolk Southern says they won’t leave this area until every ounce of toxic chemical has been removed.

“Norfolk Southern has made the commitment,” Scoble said. “We are going to make it right out here. We stand by that. From the top of the corporation all the way down, we are out here to do what’s right for the community.”

Norfolk Southern says they are continuing a sheen and sediment analysis in the creek near the scene of the derailment.

And they say they haven’t seen any adverse impact on wildlife since the initial fish kill in that creek.

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