May 28, 2024

“East Palestine, OH Train Derailment Concerns for Meigs County Water Supply”

Editors Note this is a release from the Meigs County Health Department

“There have been concerns raised about the train derailment in East Palestine, OH and chemicals making it into the Ohio River that could affect Meigs County public water. We do understand these concerns and realize this is a serious accident with many environmental consequences. The water supplies in the county are being monitored, and we want everyone to understand that this event is not impacting the safety or quality of the water provided to Meigs County Residents. The source for all public water comes from deep water wells. Meigs County public water is not drawn from the Ohio River. The chemicals from the incident are described as a plume floating on the surface of the water. This plume is being tracked by the Ohio EPA and other officials as it travels towards the Mississippi River. Meigs County Public Water Officials do not anticipate any issues related to our water supply and believe the water system is safe. For those that have private wells there should be no affect to them as well.

If you have any questions please call us at 740-992-6626.”

“Norfolk Southern

  • Train Derailment Incident Hotline: 234-542-6474
    • For odors, fumes, animals, health and other concerns
    • “Taggert Toxicology”
  • Family Assistance Center: 800-230-7049
  • Residential Re-Entry Request Hotline/Home Inspection Team: 330-849-3919
    • To request home air monitoring prior to re-entry/in-home air testing (for residences within the 1-mile evacuation zone, only).

Ohio EPA

  • For other Ohio EPA-related citizen calls about the incident, please call Lisa Cochran at 614-644-2160.

Websites with up to date information about the incident below:

(Ohio EMA)  https://ema.ohio.gov/media-publications/020523-train-derailment

(Ohio EPA)  https://epa.ohio.gov/monitor-pollution/pollution-issues/east-palestine

(U.S. EPA)  https://response.epa.gov/site/site_profile.aspx?site_id=15933

(Norfolk Southern)  https://nscorp.mediaroom.com/home

East Palestine Train Derailment Monitoring FAQ 2.9.23 (click for pdf)

What are the chemical exposures of concern?
Vinyl chloride is a flammable gas and if involved in a fire, it could break down into hydrogen chloride, phosgene, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide vapors when burned. The primary short-term risk of exposure for this incident is inhalation of these vapors. Continuous and roaming air monitoring for these chemicals, as well as particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10,) and volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), was conducted throughout the derailment incident. The monitors were positioned near the incident and several miles away to monitor chemicals of concern. Many of the air monitors were repositioned as necessary to ensure proper placement in reference to current and forecasted meteorological data.

Vinyl chloride
Vinyl chloride is a colorless gas with a mild or sweet odor. It is flammable and burns easily. Vinyl chloride is also known as chloroethane, chloroethylene, and ethylene monochloride. Vinyl chloride decomposes on burning and produces toxic and corrosive vapors of hydrogen chloride and phosgene.
Hydrogen chloride
Hydrogen chloride at room temperature is a colorless to slightly yellow corrosive, non-flammable gas that is heavier than air. It has a strong irritating odor. On exposure to air, hydrogen chloride forms dense white corrosive vapors.

Phosgene
Phosgene is a colorless, nonflammable gas at room temperature that smells like freshly cut hay. When released into air, phosgene exists solely as gas that degrades slowly in the atmosphere. This slower degradation in air can result in long-range transport until it degrades in the air or is deposited in soil or water where it can degrade more rapidly.

n-Butyl Acrylate
Clear, colorless liquid with a strong, fruity odor.

Ethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether Acetate
A colorless liquid with a fruity odor.

2-Ethylhexyl Acrylate
Appears as a clear colorless liquid with a pleasant odor. Less dense than water and insoluble in water. Vapors heavier than air.”

Published February 15, 2023By shawn