East Palestine Train Derailment Information
East Palestine Public Drinking Water Testing Results
East Palestine is served by a public water system that sources its water from five wells. These wells pump water from 52-98 feet below ground. None of the wells are within 1.4 miles of the train derailment site. Ground water to the source wells is fed primarily from the northwest and flows to the east, meaning any ground water at the derailment site is not expected to reach the source area for the municipal water system. However, four monitoring wells have been installed between the two impacted waterways, Sulfur Run and Leslie Run, and the village’s wellfield to ensure the continued safety of the water supply. By testing the water in these wells, any potential contaminants would be discovered before they reach the village’s wells.
Ohio EPA is independently testing the municipal water supply in East Palestine weekly. Employees of the Division of Drinking and Ground Waters collect the samples at the East Palestine Water Plant and securely ship them to an independent lab for analysis.
In addition to Ohio EPA’s testing, a separate contractor is also collecting samples, under Ohio EPA supervision, and sending them to a different lab to be analyzed. All lab results take 5-7 days to be completed.
The week of February 6, the Columbiana County Health District collected their own samples of water to be tested. The results were consistent with the contractor’s results, both showing no contaminants associated with the derailment.
These efforts will continue for the foreseeable future to ensure that the water quality is no different than it was before the derailment.
As of right now, there is no indication of risk to East Palestine Public Water customers. Treated drinking water shows no detection of contaminants associated with the derailment. This data does NOT apply to private wells. If you have a private well, you should have it tested before using water from it. To request free, private well testing, call 330-849-3919.
In addition to summaries of the weekly tests, we will continue to post the raw data for experts and the public to examine. You can see the latest test results on our East Palestine Municipal Drinking Water Results page.
Surface Water Sampling
You have likely seen the videos of people stirring up the water in creeks causing a sheen to form on the water. Some of the hydrocarbons from the initial fire bonded with sediments. Stirring stagnant sediment from any body of water has the potential to create a sheen. However, we are not seeing these contaminants in the water itself unless the sediments are disturbed.
The cleaning of creek sediment is ongoing through the use of multiple techniques designed to free contamination from within the sediment and capture the contamination with vac trucks. The captured material is collected in storage tanks and sent off for disposal at an approved hazardous waste facility.
It is important to note that this water is not the source for the municipal water supply in East Palestine. This water also is not believed to be the source for private wells. However, we urge private well owners to have their water tested. To request free, private well testing, call 330-849-3919.
The water in Sulphur Run near the derailment site is grossly contaminated. A containment area was created on February 8. Clean water from upstream is being pumped around the containment area to isolate any grossly contaminated water and sediment. This minimizes the amount of contaminants that could flow downstream. Contractors are working to remove the contaminated water in the containment area.
Sulphur Run flows into Leslie Run, which flows into Bull Creek, which flows into North Fork Little Beaver Creek, which flows into Little Beaver Creek, which empties into the Ohio River.
You may notice small spikes in levels of contaminants immediately following rain events. This is because contaminants that have settled to the bottom of the stream are stirred up by increased streamflow. This can also occur when people or equipment disrupt the streambed and adjacent land areas during the treatment and clean-up processes.
Water quality results show the following:
Sulphur Run (W010, W002, and W003): This continues to serve as the primary containment area to isolate grossly contaminated water and sediments. The lower portion of Sulphur Run is also used to begin water treatment efforts. The latest data in Sulphur Run continues to show non-detect levels of benzene and vinyl chloride and shows decreasing levels of acrylates. Glycols have been added to the analytical package and shows impact that lessens downstream.
Leslie Run/Bull Creek (W001, W004, W009, and W011): Additional aeration and air diffusion is occurring in the upper portion of Leslie Run near the confluence with Sulphur Run. The enhanced oxygen enrichment is having a positive effect on breaking down chemicals in the water column. The latest data from all sampling points in Leslie Run continue to show non-detect levels of benzene and vinyl chloride. Decreasing trace levels of acrylates are present (just above the detection level) in the middle Leslie Run sampling points (W001) and (W004). Results show non-detect in sampling point (W011). Glycol levels in Leslie Run show a decreasing trend/trace detection.
North Fork Little Beaver Creek (W005 and W006): These sampling points show non-detect levels of vinyl chloride, benzene, and acrylates. The glycol levels at these sampling points are trace, just above the detection levels.
Little Beaver Creek (W007, W008, and W017): The three sampling points on Little Beaver Creek continue to show non-detect levels of vinyl chloride, benzene, and acrylates. The glycol levels at these sampling points are generally non-detect, with occasional low-level detections.
Ohio River (W018 and W019): There are two sampling points on the Ohio River. One is upstream of the confluence of Little Beaver and the Ohio River and the other is just downstream of this confluence. Recent data for both points continue to show non-detect levels of vinyl chloride, benzene, acrylates, and glycols.
As remediation work continues, including aeration and air diffusion, physical contact with water and sediments in Sulphur Run and Leslie Run should be avoided.
Future data updates will be posted within 24-48 hours after receipt of the laboratory’s final data package for each sampling event. You can see the latest test results on our East Palestine Surface Water Results page.
Ohio River Sampling
The Ohio River is the source of drinking water for many communities. Water samples are continuing to be collected from 30 locations stretching from East Liverpool, Ohio to Cincinnati, Ohio. The majority of these samples are collected by what’s known as a surface grab. At East Liverpool, Wellsville, Toronto, Steubenville, Bellaire, and Cincinnati the samples are being collected from the municipal water intakes.
The most recent tests by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) indicate no butyl acrylate or vinyl chloride have been detected in the Ohio River.