DETROIT (FOX 2) - Some toxic soil and liquids from the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio was authorized to be sent to Michigan - and a portion of it is already here.
The transport of toxic soil and liquids from the derailment site were shipped to Republic Waste Services in Romulus at its deep injection well facility. Contaminated soil is set to be moved to a site in Van Buren Township. US Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan) said that Norfolk Southern made the decision to ship the material to Michigan, prior to the Environmental Protection Agency taking control of the operation.
Wayne County Executive Warren Evans is not happy about it, saying he and Governor Gretchen Whitmer's office were kept in the dark before learning bits and pieces from the grapevine.
"It sounds in all intents and purposes that we were sandbagged. I don't know how you do that without contacting local officials so that we can number one, know how to respond to our communities, and two, to give advice about what routes to take and those sort of things," Evans said. "In the phone call just a few minutes ago I talked with the governor and important folks with the EPA, but to my satisfaction - and I'd like to say the governors' office also got last-minute bits and pieces of information. They weren't hiding anything from us. They were trying to get information just like we were."
Among the substances moved to Michigan will be cancer-causing vinyl chloride, said Dingell. Five trucks have already come to Michigan Friday with the substance earmarked for the Romulus deep injection well. Dingell said that the decision to ship it here was made by
"They told us there were five trucks that came today from Ohio that they have 99 percent water and one percent vinyl chloride. And that going forward all of it is on pause and another site is likely to be found," she said.
Evans said believes the quick reaction from elected officials played a part in the stoppage of the hazardous transport.
"What I do know is that some of this material is already at the landfill. I'm understanding from the EPA that some of that transport will be shut down immediately and they are going to make arrangements for some of that material to go other places," Evans said.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine's office released a statement Friday revealing the plans to remove the waste.
"The process to remove the contaminated soil from the site of the Norfolk Southern derailment began today. Under the direction of the Ohio EPA, Norfolk Southern brought in large dump trucks to move contaminated soil to U.S. Ecology Wayne Disposal, a licensed hazardous waste disposal facility in Michigan. This will be a continuous effort to properly manage and safely dispose of the waste. So far, 4,832 cubic yards of soil have been excavated from the ground and more may be removed as cleanup proceeds. When the process begins to dig up the tracks and remove the soil underneath, that soil will be hauled away immediately and taken to a proper disposal facility."
Evans says there was a lack of notification of the transportation of hazardous materials.
Soil from the site of the Norfolk Southern derailment in East Palestine, Ohio will be moved by truck to U.S. Ecology Wayne Disposal in Belleville.
Dingell echoed Evans' response about lack of warning.
"Our job from the governor on down, is to ensure that everyone is safe and that no one ever again blindsides everybody the way they did on the delivery of this material," she said.
Contaminated soil continues to be removed from the site of the train derailment in East Palestine and hauled to a hazardous waste disposal facility in Michigan.— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) February 24, 2023
Today's updates: https://t.co/S3hkyD0QXc
All updates: https://t.co/QePrDyqhXH pic.twitter.com/GQhn4L6ggG
A previous version of this story said that Michigan's Environment, Great Lakes and Energy department had also authorized the transport according to a release from Wayne County. EGLE said it does not have that authority and that the Wayne County information its office released, was incorrect.