Now, EPA says it is ordering “a similarly comprehensive investigation of oil-contaminated sediments in the creeks.”
Norfolk Southern said the order “formalizes the continuation of work that has been ongoing since the derailment,” and that the company “remains cooperative, working with EPA and Ohio EPA at the site, and will continue to address derailment-related impacts in the waterways of Sulphur and Leslie Runs.”
“The work under this new order will complement and build upon our prior cleanup and assessment efforts. We remain committed to cleaning up the site safely and thoroughly,” Norfolk Southern said in a written statement.
The Feb. 3, 2023 derailment involved rail cars carrying pollutants, oil and hazardous substances, and some cars spilled their loads into a ditch that feeds a stream in East Palestine called Sulphur Run, which joins Leslie Run.
EPA Regional Administrator Debra Shore in a statement said there has been progress in the cleanup, “but we know there is more work to be done,” adding that “the sediment in the creeks in some areas may generate a sheen when disturbed or agitated.”
EPA is ordering Norfolk Southern to continue the cleanup in culverts to remove contaminated sediment downstream from the derailment site.
The order also calls for continued investigation of contaminated sediments along a five-mile stretch of the creeks, to determine if more cleanup is necessary to address potential long-term impacts. EPA said there is “no indication of risk” to private wells or public water customers in East Palestine.