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Update on Norfolk Southern assistance to the East Palestine, OH community

Last Updated on February 27, 2023 at 10:05am

Norfolk Southern Corporation today provided an update on its assistance efforts to the community of East Palestine, Ohio. These include direct support for residents through Norfolk Southern’s Family Assistance Center, equipment for first responders, and continued environmental testing and monitoring, which is being done in coordination with the Ohio and U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA), and other environmental agencies.

Family Assistance Center

To date, more than 700 families and a number of businesses have been helped. In total, more than $1 million has been distributed directly to families to cover costs related to the evacuation. Those include reimbursements and cash advancements for lodging, travel, food, clothes, and other related items. Norfolk Southern is in the process of contacting and meeting with affected local businesses to provide aid. To date, more than 30 businesses have been contacted.

Residents and businesses who have questions or need financial assistance should visit the Family Assistance Center at Abundant Life Church located 46469 State Route 46, New Waterford, Ohio, or call 1-800-230-7049.

Community Support

Norfolk Southern continues to meet with local, state, and federal leaders to assist first responders and the community. That assistance includes:

  • Donated $220,000 to the East Palestine Fire Department to replace Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) air packs, which allow firefighters to breathe compressed air when responding to fires.
  • Provided more than 100 air purifiers for residents to use in their homes. Air purifiers are also being purchased for the East Palestine municipal building in coordination with the City Manager.
  • Coordinated and funded cleaning and air monitoring services for the East Palestine Elementary and High Schools.
  • Developing a charitable fund to support the East Palestine community. This goes well beyond an initial contribution of $25,000 to the Ohio Red Cross to support the shelter established at East Palestine High School.

Norfolk Southern has been closely coordinating with the Columbiana County Health District, Ohio Department of Health, Ohio EPA, and the U.S. EPA, as well as its own experts and contractors to monitor and mitigate environmental issues and concerns. All results are shared with the above agencies and include:

  • Completed more than 340 in-home air tests in conjunction with U.S. EPA, with more than 100 additional tests scheduled. In-home air monitoring has not shown any detections of substances related to the incident and does not indicate a health risk.
  • Thousands of data points have been collected during outdoor air monitoring in the community and continues to indicate no risk to health from incident-related substances.
  • Sampled the Village of East Palestine’s drinking water supply wells, drinking water system, and private wells in areas potentially impacted by the incident. Sample results will be available in the next week.  
  • Established a Well Task Force to install monitoring points around the impacted waterways and incident site.
  • Started excavating soil from the incident site and sampling the soil before safe disposal.
  • Contacting residents on well water in the vicinity of the derailment to conduct water testing, which encompasses 38 wells. That testing will be done in conjunction with environmental and health agencies, and we will continue to work with them to identify other private drinking water wells for testing.

Residents who want air and water testing should contact the Residential Re-Entry Request Hotline at (330) 849-3919. If residents have further questions or concerns, they may call the CTEH Taggart Road Hotline at (234) 542-6474 to speak with a toxicologist.

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