Ohio train derailment cleanup process raises concerns

Water from cleanup headed to Houston area


photo or infographic by Reid Henderson

The controlled burn after a train derailment in Ohio led to many questions about the long term effects of the substance.

While foreign affairs may be at the forefront of everyone’s mind, one cannot neglect the problems facing the United States at home. There have been multiple train incidents where derailment has caused many toxic substances to spill out and cause harm to people in small towns across the country. The largest example of this event is the East Palestine train which was carrying a toxic substance known as vinyl chloride, a very common manufacturing gas used to make plastic products like pvc. 

The small town of East Palestine, housing only 4,700 residents has been under more attention than they ever have before. The controlled burn that occurred after the incident led to many questions being raised as to whether or not the government response was effective. This substance is very dangerous, linked to many forms of cancer including, but not limited to, liver, kidney and lung cancer. 

Despite the efforts of first responders and the EPA, the initial spill leaked into water supplies, and recently, Texas Molecular, a chemical plant in Deer Park has received the water the firefighters used to control the fire that occurred during the burn. There have been multiple different sides to discuss whether or not this transport of contaminated water is appropriate to be handled by trucks. The state of Ohio has been sending this water across the country to private companies like Texas Molecular in order for them to dispose of the water through injection, a process that involves injecting the water into a deep hole to be left in, a very common practice among these companies. 

Many have raised concerns on if dispersing this contaminated water across the country is a good thing due to the potential risks involved in endangering more communities, in the event an accident occurs on the road. The reason as to why this water was contaminated in the first place was due to an accident after all. Communities across the country and here at home are all on the edge after this horrific incident and do not want a repeat in their home towns.