Site Restoration and Stream Clean-up Updates from the EPA

On Monday, May 13, the East Palestine Village Council convened at the bi-monthly public meeting where guest speakers Mark Durno, Homeland Security Advisor, U.S. EPA Region 5 and Chris Hunsicker from Norfolk Southern presented updates on the ongoing and remaining site restoration work and the stream clean up efforts. Please watch the full meeting video.

Stream Clean Up Status
The mitigation activities of Sulfur and Leslie Run are reported as being 60 percent complete with an expectation of continuing through June and July. The completion is weather dependent and is based on what is seen in the stream. Hunsicker noted,“… it’s not timeline based. It’s condition results based. If we don’t reach the cleaning goals that we need, that we want to see, we’re just going to keep cleaning until we get them.”

Durno reported that there will also be a reassessment and another round of sampling of more than 20 locations that will be compared with previous data samples to see how the system is improving over time.

Surface Water Management
Durno shared a map showing the ongoing testing locations that have been completed following a phased approach. After soil and water sampling reported clear, the North & South ditches along the tracks were reopened with rainwater flowing again through those areas. Once the 150,000 gallon CID tanks, ‘Big blue’ tanks and other storage vessels are removed north of the tracks and south of Taggart, the soil underneath will be tested and cleaned as well.

Hunsicker noted that demobilization is ongoing and stressed that no treatment plant will be left behind. Once they confirm that everything has been cleaned up, the infrastructure – the white tent, the tanks, everything will be removed.

Remaining Work Timeline

Management Transition
Durno explained a change in the command operations. They will transition from a Unified Command Group (UC) structure used to manage an emergency response to a Multi-agency Coordination (MAC) structure that is an ongoing clean up project under the Clean Water Act authorities, in this case, US EPA and Ohio EPA along with the responsible party, which is Norfolk Southern. There will be no changes to the site operations in the field and the public will see no apparent changes. This is strictly a management operations shift.