HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — On Thursday, the Shapiro Administration announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will be conducting independent water sampling following the East Palestine train derailment.
According to the Shapiro Administration, the DEP will be conducting independent water sampling to closely monitor water contamination risks that are related to the train derailment that took place in East Palestine back on Feb. 3.
The DEP will also be 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 Governor 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.”
According to the Shapiro Administration, the DEP will be taking independent water samples from Norfolk Southern sampling sites for examination by the the DEP Bureau of Laboratories. The DEP will also be taking independent water samples in Pennsylvania within a two-mile radius of the site of the derailment. The samples will be taken monthly to watch for any long-term impacts.
After performing a basic evaluation of the groundwater flow and geology near the derailment site, the DEP’s Bureau of Environmental Cleanup and Brownfields believes that there is not likely any contamination of water wells in Pennsylvania.
If you are a resident with concerns about private well water, the Shapiro Administration advises that you contact the DEP Southwest Regional Office at 412-442-4000 for more information about well testing.
According to the Shapiro Administration, a Beaver Falls Municipal Authority water treatment plant is located 11 miles from the train derailment site. The closest Community Public Water Supply, PA American Ellwood City, is 10.5 miles away from the site.
The DEP will also be investigating a small public water supply, located along the Little Beaver River. This supply uses spring sources.
Since the incident happened, Pennsylvania hasn’t seen any concerning air or water quality readings. The DEP hasn’t observed any contaminants of concern leaving a two-mile area around the derailment site.
The Shapiro Administration stated that the 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.