One Year After Train Derailment, East Palestine Wastewater Disposal Plan Under Fire

As a region recovers from one of the most devastating environmental catastrophes in recent memory, its residents are fighting against the disposal plans for the resulting wastewater.

“It’s been a year since the East Palestine train derailment, and the accident’s impact stretches well beyond the borders of the eastern-Ohio village,” Ohio Capital Journal reported. “About 75 miles away, a drilling company is using a deep injection well to dispose of wastewater from the crash’s cleanup efforts, despite staunch local opposition.”

After an industrial train crashed in Ohio last year, the toxic chemicals it was carrying spilled into the Ohio River, creating a large plume of contamination and driving public concern over drinking water quality. Visiting the community on its one-year anniversary, President Joe Biden “blasted” train operator Norfolk Southern “for not taking proper precautions with its dangerous cargo,” according to NPR.

The question of what to do with the resulting wastewater has caused controversy ever since. And even a year later, locals are pushing back on the decision to move forward without more of their input.

“Local business owners and elected leaders argue the community should be involved in the siting and permitting process [for the wastewater injection],” per Ohio Capital Journal. “They also push for more transparency when it comes to oversight and greater compensation for communities that accept wastewater disposal.”

Other disposal methods have seen pushback as well.

“City leaders in Baltimore were similarly dismayed when they learned about plans to process derailment wastewater at a local facility back in March,” according to News Nation. “The disposal of contaminated soil from the derailment has also prompted objections.”

Ultimately, it seems consumers want to take charge of how their communities recover from an accident that they had no role in causing. And with local officials and even the president apparently joining their cause, they stand a chance of protecting themselves from further harm.

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