The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated that Norfolk Southern, the company responsible for a recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, handle the cleanup of the hazardous chemical spill caused by the incident, according to NBC News.
The derailment, which occurred on February 3, resulted in the evacuation of all residents living within a one-mile radius of the area.
The EPA has directed Norfolk Southern to manage the cleanup of the contaminated soil and water, reimburse the EPA for cleanup services provided to local residents and businesses, and conduct public meetings to update the community on the progress of the cleanup.
If Norfolk Southern fails to comply with the cleanup efforts, the EPA has threatened to step in and triple the cost of the cleanup.
Vinyl chloride, a known human carcinogen used in the manufacturing of PVC, was released into the air as a result of the derailment.
The EPA also revealed that several other volatile chemicals, including ethylene glycol monobutyl ether and ethylhexyl acrylate, were present at the site of the incident.
“EPA’s order will ensure the company is held accountable for jeopardizing the health and safety of this community,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “Norfolk Southern will pay for cleaning up the mess they created and for the trauma they’ve inflicted on this community.”
Norfolk Southern had previously made a voluntary commitment to cover all cleanup expenses.
The full list of substances present at the site was not made public until after local residents were permitted to return to their homes.
Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio announced that tests conducted by the Ohio EPA indicated “no detection of contaminants in raw water from the five wells that feed into East Palestine’s municipal water system,” and the EPA stated that “test results from the village’s municipal well sampling showed no water quality concerns.”