Why was toxic soil taken to Michigan and is it safe?

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2023 | Water Contamination

National news has provided coverage on the Ohio train derailment. The crash led to a massive explosion, a dark black cloud that hovered over the community, and toxins that seeped into surrounding water and soil. Norfolk Southern, the train company responsible for the derailment and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have worked to try and clean up this site to keep it safe for those who live nearby.

Although a devastating story, you may wonder how this could impact you — does a train derailment in Ohio really impact people outside of the surrounding area? Unfortunately, it may.

Soil from train derailment in Ohio already in Michigan

In an effort to remove toxins from the derailment site, officials have put together a plan to have the contaminated water and soil transported out of the state. Although good for the community near the derailment site, it is not good for the areas that will receive these shipments.

At least five trucks have already brought contaminated soil to Michigan, to a site in Romulus, Wayne County. Unfortunately, notice to local authorities and the public isn’t always required. The community has pushed back, and there is now a temporary pause on shipments.

Republic Waste Services, the company that took in the contaminated soil, has stored the soil in a deep injection well. We do not yet know what this means for the water in the surrounding area. Critics of the move have voiced concern that it could taint the water and that the move may unintentionally expose Michigan residents to vinyl chloride, a substance known to cause cancer. These can include liver, brain, and lung cancers as well as lymphoma and leukemia.

What are my options if I live in this area of Detroit?

It is important to keep up to date on this issue. The health impact and legal claims surrounding this case will continue to evolve as we learn more. If you become sick, it is important to keep a copy of medical records. Those who believe they were exposed and become seriously ill may be able to hold Norfolk Southern responsible for the expenses and pain and suffering related to their illness.


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