State Watch

Cleveland residents assured water is safe amid concerns over eastern Ohio train derailment

The cleanup of portions of a Norfolk Southern freight train that derailed Friday night in East Palestine, Ohio, continues on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Cleveland, Ohio, has informed city residents that their water is safe amid growing concerns about the environmental consequences from the derailment of a train hauling chemicals in the northeastern part of the state. 

In a statement, Cleveland Water notified residents that its drinking water comes from Lake Erie, which is “separate from the Ohio River and its watershed.” 

“There’s no indication that Lake Erie or its watershed have been impacted by the train derailment in East Palestine,” the department said in its statement. “The testing that we regularly perform would catch any changes to our source water should they arise.” 

The statement comes as East Palestine, a village in northeastern Ohio, is facing questions from residents about whether the air and water around them is safe for people, pets and livestock in the aftermath of the incident. 

East Palestine residents are also asking for financial support after being forced to evacuate from the area.

In response, transport company Norfolk Southern Railway announced it will launch a $1 million charitable fund initiative to help the East Palestine community, which included providing more than 100 air purifiers for residents to use in their homes.

“We are committed to East Palestine today and in the future,” Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan Shaw said in a statement. “We will be judged by our actions. We are cleaning up the site in an environmentally responsible way, reimbursing residents affected by the derailment, and working with members of the community to identify what is needed to help East Palestine recover and thrive.”

A train carrying toxic chemicals derailed near the Pennsylvania state line earlier this month, causing a massive fire and prompting authorities to evacuate about half of the 4,800 residents in the surrounding area. 

Norfolk Southern has said some of the rail cars were carrying hazardous materials including vinyl chloride, combustible liquids, butyl acrylate, benzene residue, and other nonhazardous materials. 

The East Palestine Fire Department last week informed village residents that they are able to return to their homes, but cautioned them to avoid the area surrounding the railway.

Tags Cleveland East Palestine Norfolk Southern Ohio train derailment

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