Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro announced today that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will conduct independent water sampling to monitor water contamination risks related to a Feb. 3 train derailment that occurred in Ohio.
DEP will be taking independent samples from Norfolk Southern sampling sites for examination, according to a press release. Samples will also be taken from Pennsylvania waters within a 2-mile radius of the derailment site.
The derailment occurred in East Palestine, Ohio, which is less than a mile away from Pennsylvania’s western border.
“My Administration is taking steps to independently verify the safety of Pennsylvanians’ water — and will continue to do so in the months to come,” Governor Josh Shapiro said in a press release. “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.”
The 50-car derailment in East Palestine is suspected to have been caused by a mechanical issue with a rail car axle. Officials choose to release and burn toxic vinyl chloride from five rails cars, causing billows of flames and black smoke to ascend into the air, WGAL reports. No injuries were reported.