The firefighter water used at the toxic Ohio chemical spill is to be disposed of in another county over safety concerns – as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is due in East Palestine today, 20 days after the disaster struck.
The 150-car train Norfolk Southern freight train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio on February 3, causing a fire and spillage of toxic chemicals.
Videos and pictures posted online have shown nearby rivers contaminated by the petroleum-based chemicals and fish floating dead in streams.
The now potentially-toxic firefighter water used at the scene will now be disposed of in Harris County in Texas, over 1,300 miles away.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo confirmed the decision in a statement, saying that she understood the concerns this would bring to the community but that she was waiting on more information from the Environmental Protection Agency about how this would be carried out.
Videos and pictures posted online have shown nearby rivers contaminated by the petroleum-based chemicals and fish floating dead in streams. Pictured is the pollution in a creek nearby
An 150-car train Norfolk Southern freight train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio on February 3, causing a fire and spillage of toxic chemicals
Hidalgo said: ‘I and my office heard today that ‘firefighting water’ from the East Palestine, Ohio is slated to be disposed of in our County.
‘Our Harris County Pollution Control Department and Harris County Attorney’s Office have reached out to the company and the Environmental Protection Agency to receive more information about the timing, transportation mechanisms, and contents, as well as to ensure all regulations are being met.
‘I have communicated with Deer Park Emergency Management and Mayor Mouton and am very sensitive to the concerns that this news naturally brings to our community.
‘We will keep residents informed as we learn more.’
It is currently unclear how the water will be disposed of and how it will be safely transported to Harris County.
Norfolk Southern is now being sued by East Palestine residents who are concerned about the toxic chemicals being spilled from the train cars and a subsequent ‘controlled release’ of highly-flammable vinyl chloride.
Vinyl chloride is also a known carcinogen that can cause drowsiness, headaches and dizziness in the short term.
In the long term, exposure to vinyl chloride can cause liver damage.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (pictured on February 13) is due to visit East Palestine today
A man takes photos as a black plume rises over East Palestine, Ohio, as a result of a controlled detonation of a portion of the derailed Norfolk Southern train
The train derailment on February 3 set off a fire that could be seen from miles away
Residents near the site have said they are ‘too afraid to shower’ and have experienced worrying symptoms of headaches and irritated eyes in the days since the derailment.
Doug Brayshaw, 63, told NBC: ‘We’re afraid to shower. I won’t even give my dog drinking water out of my well right now because I’m worried.’
Amanda Greathouse told CEN that she had developed a rash, her eyes were ‘burning’ and she felt sick. Since the incident she said she had decided not to raise her kids in the area.
One couple even had to put down their indoor cat after they noticed he was getting sick just the hours after the train derailment.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will visit East Palestine today, 20 days after the disaster to meet with members of the community. President Biden is yet to visit the site.
Buttigieg will also meet with the National Transportation Safety Board, who are investigating the derailment of the freight train.
The investigation team is expected to released its initial findings today.
The derailed train consisted of three locomotives, 141 loads and nine empties – it was 9,300-feet long and weighed 18,000 tons. During the accident 38 individual cars derailed, which caused a fire that damaged an additional 12 cars.
Authorities have said 1.5million gallons of contaminants have been taken away from the area since the crash.
CBS News reported that employees for Northern Southern thought the train was too heavy and had too many cars, making it hard to stop.
Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday alleges that Norfolk Southern’s effort to clean up and mitigate the derailment site have made the situation even more dangerous for residents.
It claims Train 32N was carrying nearly 1.1million pounds of vinyl chloride when it overturned on February 3, a chemical that can mutate DNA and is not safe at any level of exposure.
Then when the train overturned, that massive amount of vinyl chloride — which is more than double the amount industrial emitters released in the United States — combined — in one year.
Former President Donald Trump visited the site on Wednesday, where he gave a speech and distributed water bottles, hats and meals to emergency workers.
He criticized Biden’s response to the disaster, before saying ‘have fun, everybody.’
A spokesperson for Norfolk Southern Corporation rejected the idea the train was too long and heavy, telling DailyMail.com it ‘previously ran as one longer and heavier train before being split into two shorter, lighter trains in the past few months.’
The dangerous chemicals released in the East Palestine train derailment
A train carrying a wide-variety of toxic chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio on February 3.
Some of those chemicals have since been released into the air or soil, as residents worry about the long-term health effects.
Among the chemicals released from the derailment are:
Vinyl chloride — train operator Norfolk Southern has said that 10 cars were burning vinyl chloride, a known carcinogen. It is a highly-volatile colorless gas used to create polyvinyl chloride, a plastic used in piping, cables, bottles and credit cards.
Symptoms of vinyl chloride exposure includes drowsiness, headaches and dizziness. More long-term effects may include cancer and liver damage.
Hydrogen chloride — In trying to mitigate the effects of vinyl chloride, officials conducted a controlled explosion of the train cars, releasing hydrogen chloride.
The chemical is irritating and corrosive to any tissue it gets in contact with, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns.
Brief exposure can cause throat irritation, but exposure at higher levels can result in rapid breathing, narrowing of the bronchioles, blue coloring of the skin, accumulation of fluid in the lungs and even death.
Phosgene — a chemical that was also released in the controlled explosion.
Like hydrogen chloride, phosgene is an irritant to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract.
Common initial symptoms include mild irritation of the eyes and throat, with some coughing choking, nausea, occasional vomiting, headache and a feeling of tightness in the chest.
Phosgene poisoning may also cause respiratory and cardiovascular failure, low blood pressure and an accumulation of fluid in the lungs.
Ethylhexyl acrylate — a chemical that was carried on the train
It is a known carcinogen, that can cause burning and irritation of the skin and eyes. Inhalation of the substance can also irritate the nose and throat, causing shortness of breath and coughing.
Isobutylene was also being transported on the train.
Inhalation of isobutylene can cause dizziness and drowsiness
Ethylene glycol mobobutyl was another substance being transported to Pennsylvania.
It can cause irritation in the eyes, skin, nose and threat, as well as hematuria (or blood in the urine), nervous system depression, headache and vomiting.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk