A truck collapsed, spilling tons of polluted dirt from the Ohio railroad tragedy in February back into the environment. This tragedy occurred within four miles of the site where, earlier this year, a train carrying hazardous materials derailed. Despite assurances from authorities, locals are understandably worried.
A freight train operated by Norfolk Southern derailed near East Palestine, Ohio, on February 3. Its cargo comprised five tank cars carrying poisonous chemicals, all of which were destroyed in the accident. To avoid any more chemical spills, the cleaning team incinerated the containers. Residents have since reported unexplained illnesses and the deaths of pets, which many attribute to chemical poisoning from the fire.
A massive cleanup effort has been under place ever since the catastrophe. Tons of contaminated dirt need to be removed from the site as part of this process. On April 10, 40,000 pounds of that soil were loaded onto a tractor-trailer rig in order to be transported to a processing plant; however, just four miles north of the derailment site, the truck lost control, ran off Route 165 into the ditch, hit a utility pole, and overturned, spilling half of its load onto the road and berm. The road was stopped for a while before the fire department and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency arrived. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has said that the incident was “contained” and did not impact water sources. The 74-year-old truck driver was cited for allegedly not being able to keep the vehicle under control.
Residents of East Palestine claim a wide spectrum of symptoms, despite the EPA’s insistence that air and water pollution in the area is at acceptable levels; one local physician has dubbed the sickness “chemical bronchitis,” drawing a direct connection to the derailment. Despite reassurances from the government, they worry that they are still being put in danger by dangerous chemicals. They won’t feel better after 10 tons of polluted dirt was dumped on a nearby road.