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Gov. Shapiro Announces Pennsylvania Will Conduct Independent Water Sampling Following Ohio/PA Train Derailment

On February 16, the Shapiro Administration announced the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will be conducting independent water sampling to closely monitor water contamination risks related to the East Palestine train derailment that took place on February 3, 2023.

In addition, DEP is assisting concerned public water suppliers in evaluating their source water at the Beaver Falls Municipal Authority’s surface water intake on the Beaver River.

“My Administration is taking steps to independently verify the safety of Pennsylvanians’ water -- and will continue to do so in the months to come,” said Gov. Josh Shapiro. “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.”

“Keeping Pennsylvanians safe is our top priority,” said Rich Negrin, Acting Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. “Leading our own independent testing now will give us a necessary baseline so that we can track any changes to Pennsylvanians’ water in the months ahead. We will continue to do our part to test the water to determine the impacts of this train derailment, and keep Pennsylvanians informed and safe.”

DEP will be taking independent samples from Norfolk Southern sampling sites for examination by the DEP Bureau of Laboratories.

DEP will also be taking independent water samples in Pennsylvania within a 2-mile radius of the derailment site.

Samples will be taken monthly to watch for any long-term impacts.

DEP’s Bureau of Environmental Cleanup and Brownfields has performed a basic evaluation of the groundwater flow and geology near the derailment site and believes that there is not likely to be any contamination of water wells in Pennsylvania.

Residents with concerns about private well water should contact the DEP Southwest Regional Office at 412-442-4000 for more information about well testing.

A Beaver Falls Municipal Authority water treatment plant is located 11 miles from the train derailment site. The closest Community Public Water Supply is PA American Ellwood City, which is 10.5 miles from the site.

DEP is also investigating a small public water supply that is located along the Little Beaver River that utilizes spring sources.

Pennsylvania continues to see no concerning air or water quality readings following this incident.

Based on the air monitoring results at the time of the incident at the site as well as the perimeter air monitoring, DEP has not observed any contaminants of concern leaving a 2-mile area around the derailment site and entering into Pennsylvania.

DEP is coordinating with Ohio EPA, Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), Federal EPA, and Norfolk Southern’s contractor, CTEH, to review sample information for surface waters.

Earlier this week Gov. Shapiro issued a letter to Norfolk Southern raising questions about the emergency response that was undertaken in the immediate aftermath of the derailment and vowing to hold the company accountable.  Read more here.

More Information

Visit DEP’s Ohio/PA Train Derailment webpage for more information on the state’s response.


-- WITF: PA Emergency Services Implore State For Urgent Help With Staffing, Funding - Fire, EMS, Police

-- StateImpactPA - Reid Frazier: Ohio/PA Train That Derailed Wasn’t Considered ‘High Hazard,’ Could Stricter Rules Make Hazardous Material Transport Safer?

-- Post-Gazette - Ford Turner: PA Lawmakers Slamming Norfolk Southern As ‘Ignorant’ And Greedy After Ohio/PA Train Derailment

-- TribLive: PA Cong. Deluzio Calls For Congressional Action After Ohio/PA Train Derailment

-- TribLive: Online Resources For Information On Ohio/PA Train Derailment

-- TribLive: Allegheny County Air Quality Remains Unaffected By Train Derailment, Officials Say

-- Experts: Pittsburgh Water Safe To Drink Following Ohio/PA Train Derailment

-- Post-Gazette - Anya Litvak, Others: What We Know About Health Concerns Related To Ohio/PA Train Derailment

-- AP: Ohio To Open Medical Clinic Near Ohio/PA Trail Derailment As Health Worries Linger

-- Post-Gazette: Ohio Residents Fear For Their Health And Answers Are Hard To Find - ‘How Long Is This Going To Last?’

-- USA Today: Ohio/PA Train Derailment Fact Check: What’s True And What’s False?

-- Wheeling News: NTSB Looking At Overheated Wheel Bearing In Ohio/PA Train Derailment Investigation

-- PA Capital-Star: Casey, Fetterman Join Ohio Counterparts To Call For More Federal Action On Ohio/PA Train Derailment

-- New Jersey Monitor: Ohio/PA Train Derailment Prompts New Calls To Block PA Natural Gas Transport Plan By Train/Truck To Proposed New Jersey LNG Export Terminal

-- AP: EPA Chief At Ohio/PA Train Derailment Site: ‘Trust The Government’

-- USA Today: EPA Will ‘Hold Norfolk Southern Responsible’ For Ohio/PA Train Derailment, Cleanup

-- Bloomberg: Norfolk Southern CEO Pledges To Ensure Safety Of Ohio Town After Train Derailment

-- AP: Norfolk Southern CEO Visits Ohio/PA Train Derailment Site

-- Norfolk Southern: Furthers Environmental Efforts In East Palestine, Ohio [Train Derailment Site]

-- Bloomberg: Ohio/PA Train Crash Unleashes Local Rage, Suspicion Over Toxic Chemicals

-- CNN: Ohio Residents Worry Rashes, Headaches, Other Symptoms May Be Tied To Chemicals From Ohio/OA Train Crash

-- Canton Repository: Lawsuit: Fish And Animals Dying As Far As 20 Miles Away From Ohio/PA Train Derailment Site

Related Articles This Week:

-- Gov. Shapiro Lays Out Serious Concerns Regarding Norfolk Southern’s Incident Management After Meeting With Beaver County Officials  [PaEN]

-- Gov. Shapiro Announces Pennsylvania Will Conduct Independent Water Sampling Following Ohio/PA Train Derailment  [PaEN]

-- PA Agriculture On Ohio/PA Train Derailment Impacts: 2 Reports Of Horses Affected By Smoke Immediately Following Controlled Burn; No Reports Of Livestock, Domestic Animal Health Symptoms After [PaEN]

-- Two PA Senate Committees To Hold Hearings On Ohio/PA Train Derailment: Emergency Preparedness- Feb. 23; Transportation- Feb. 27 - Public Invited To Submit Questions  To Transportation [PaEN]

-- Ohio/PA Train Derailment, Pipeline Explosions, Uncontrolled Releases Put Spotlight On Public Health, Safety Threats Posed By Petrochemical, Natural Gas Industrial And Pipeline Infrastructure In PA  [PaEN]

-- Groups Urge DEP To Temporarily Halt Operations At Shell Petrochemical Plant In Beaver County; File 2nd Notice Of Intent To Sue For Air Pollution Violations  [PaEN]

-- DEP Issued 754 Notices Of Violation For Defective Oil & Gas Well Casing, Cementing, The Fundamental Protection Needed To Prevent Gas Migration, Groundwater & Air Contamination, Explosions  [PaEN]

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - Feb. 11 to 17  [PaEN]

-- Susquehanna River Basin Commission Approves 38 Water Use Requests For Shale Gas Well Drilling Pads In Bradford, Clearfield, Lycoming, Potter, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wyoming Counties  [PaEN]

-- Better Path Coalition Hosts Feb. 21 Webinar On DEP's Federally-Funded Oil & Gas Well Plugging Program [PaEN]

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - Feb. 18  [PaEN]

-- DEP Approves Permits For Transcontinental Gas Regional Energy Access Expansion Pipeline Project in Luzerne, Northampton, Bucks, Chester, Monroe Counties  [PaEN]

-- Environmental Health Project Blog: Natural Gas Compressor Stations - A Guide To Protecting Your Health And The Environment [Photo: FracTracker, Clinton County] [PaEN]

-- PA Environmental Defense Foundation Files Court Motion To Prevent Unconstitutional Spending Of DCNR Oil & Gas Revenues For Nonconservation Purposes  [PaEN]

[Posted: February 16, 2023]


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