EPA orders Norfolk Southern to perform additional cleanup following Ohio derailment

(Reuters) – – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday ordered Norfolk Southern Corp to carry out additional cleanup in East Palestine, Ohio, following the Feb. 3 derailment of a company-operated freight train.

The EPA said it also ordered Norfolk Southern to conduct additional investigations into oily sheen, or film, on water and sediments in two creeks in East Palestine.

“Work done under this order will determine if more cleanup is necessary to ensure any potential long-term impacts are addressed,” the EPA said in a statement.

Ohio carried out a controlled release of hazardous chemicals at the site on Feb. 6, three days after the train derailed near the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania, causing a massive fire.

According to the EPA, the investigation of oily sheen will cover a stretch of about five miles, encompassing impacted sections of the two creeks, the Sulphur Run and the Leslie Run.

“Through this order, Norfolk Southern will take a thorough look at the waterways to ensure there are no lasting impacts from the derailment,” EPA Regional Administrator Debra Shore said.

The EPA said cleanup of the creek will also involve several culverts, spanning roughly 1,200 feet to remove impacted sediment in Sulphur Run downstream of the derailment site.

Norfolk Southern said the order “formalizes the continuation of work that has been ongoing since the derailment under a different regulatory scheme. Norfolk Southern remains cooperative, working with EPA and Ohio EPA at the site, and will continue to address derailment-related impacts in the waterways of Sulphur and Leslie Runs.”

In February, EPA issued a Superfund unilateral administrative order, compelling Norfolk Southern to eliminate spilled materials and contaminated soil from the location of train derailment.

(Reporting by Sherin Elizabeth Varghese and Rahul Paswan in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)