(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Pennsylvania will be testing water supplies that are very near the recent train derailment in Ohio. The Department of Environmental Protection also noted it has seen no concerning air or water quality readings outside of the 2-mile area of the derailment since the incident.
On Feb. 3, a train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, near the Ohio/Pennsylvania state line. Emergency officials decided for a controlled release and controlled burning of vinyl chloride that was being transported by the train. That resulted in an evacuation of residents there. Now, environmental concerns are on the forefront.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is planning to conduct water sampling to monitor the water contamination risks to the Commonwealth, Gov. Josh Shapiro announced on Feb. 16.
“My administration is taking steps to independently verify the safety of Pennsylvanians’ water — and will continue to do so in the months to come,” Shapiro said. “As we work to learn more about this incident and hold Norfolk Southern accountable, the Commonwealth will also lead the way so that Pennsylvanians are aware of and protected from any threats to their safety and resources that may arise. Our independent testing will ensure the data we are receiving is accurate and timely so we can partner effectively with local communities to provide the information Pennsylvanians need and deserve.”
Further, the DEP will assist public water suppliers who source their water at the Beaver Falls Municipal Authority’s surface water intake on the Beaver River. The Beaver Falls Municipal Authority water treatment plant is about 11 miles from the derailment site. PA American Ellwood City’s community water supply is about 10.5 miles from the site.
DEP will take samples from the actual derailment site, along will samples in Pennsylvania within a 2-mile radius of the derailment site. Samples will be taken monthly to determine any long-term impacts.
Already the DEP has evaluated the flow of groundwater and geology and has determined that water wells in Pennsylvania are “not likely” to be contaminated. For well testing, Pennsylvania residents can call (412) 442-4000.