It seems the more we learn about the catastrophic train derailment in Ohio, the more questions we have. One of the most recent developments is the fact that officials are removing contaminated water from the derailment site and sending it to other locations throughout the country.
This is more than just a few trucks headed out of the derailment site. Dozens of trucks filled with contaminated water are leaving the site every day.
Where are the trucks going?
Officials sent the majority to Harris County, Texas. This is the home of Texas Molecular, a company that specializes in the treatment and disposal of hazardous water waste. During a recent interview a local official stated an estimated thirty trucks of contaminated water arrive every day from the East Palestine site.
A smaller number of trucks went to Vickery, Ohio. The location has a reputation as a destination for contaminated water. Back in 2014, officials used a deep well in Vickery to hold an estimated 45,000 gallons of contaminated water from a chemical leak in Western Virginia.
Will the public know which trucks carry contaminated water?
Government rules require those who move hazardous substances follow specific labeling, permitting, and transportation requirements. These rules extend to include the transportation of water with chemical contaminants.
The question is whether the presence of vinyl chloride and the chemicals from the foams used to control the fire will qualify for these precautions.
This is frustrating because in the event of a crash, which seems possible considering the high number of trucks transporting this toxic water, first responders, those involved in the accident, and nearby residents may not be aware of the toxins.
What is happening to the toxic water?
Those in charge of the process state the toxic water headed to Texas will serve as firefighting water. There is not much information available on what will happen between transportation and the use of this water to fight fires. One would hope additional treatment would occur before spraying the toxic substance on neighborhoods throughout the community to reduce the risk of further spreading of these toxins.
Unfortunately, we do not know if those in charge of these decisions are taking adequate precautions to ensure the safety of those in these communities.
What are the concerns for those exposed to this water?
We know that exposure to contaminated water can result in serious illness including various cancers and can have other health consequences. Those who become ill due to exposure to contaminated water can use the legal system to hold the responsible party accountable for their illness. In this situation, victims can likely hold Norfolk Southern railroad company responsible. It is wise for those injured by exposure to this toxic water to reach out and discuss the potential for legal remedies.