Concerns were raised over a news article published in Morning Journal and Salem News that misinterpreted a recently published US EPA report. The newspapers corrected the information with a more comprehensive story this morning. The village appreciates today’s correction. The original story caused unnecessary concerns and did not reflect what is happening. We understand these are complex issues and subject to misunderstanding.

Here is what is happening:

The US EPA, in collaboration with the village and other Unified Command partners that are managing the derailment response, is conducting a comprehensive assessment plan for properties affected by the train derailment.

This assessment is not due to concerns of contamination spreading widely, but is a precautionary measure to ensure contamination has not spread, and that clean-up activities are working. The US EPA is calling the assessment a “double-check.”

The assessment involves collecting over 2,500 samples including surface and subsurface, to ensure cleanup completeness. The village park has been confirmed to be safe for use following a thorough evaluation by the US EPA. The testing was conducted in response to the concerns raised by residents about the potential for soil contamination, and the results indicate that the park’s soil is free from harmful substances.

This ongoing assessment is part of a larger response effort that includes similar procedures for soil, groundwater, and air monitoring and sampling at the same locations. Norfolk Southern, in coordination with Unified Command, continues working to meet cleanup standards in East Palestine and the surrounding area, and we are monitoring it closely to ensure it happens.

This comprehensive assessment primarily focuses on reviewing completed actions to ensure thoroughness. The main goal is confirming the removal of all materials from affected areas. These ongoing processes are important and will continue to guarantee the complete elimination of any remaining contamination.