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Gov. Shapiro orders independent water testing from derailment

Attorney General Josh Shapiro addresses a crowd at the Butler County Democratic Committee headquarters in Butler on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. Shapiro is running to be governor of the state. Joseph Ressler/Butler Eagle 4/6/22

Gov. Josh Shapiro announced Thursday, Feb. 16, that the state Department of Environmental Protection will conduct independent water sampling to closely monitor contamination risks related to the Feb. 3 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

Shapiro said in a news release that the water sampling will begin immediately and continue in the months to come.

“As we work to learn more about this incident and hold Norfolk Southern accountable, the Commonwealth will also lead the way so that Pennsylvanians are aware of and protected from any threats to their safety and resources that may arise,” Shapiro said. “Our independent testing will ensure the data we are receiving is accurate and timely so we can partner effectively with local communities to provide the information Pennsylvanians need and deserve.”

DEP will take independent samples from Norfolk Southern sampling sites for examination by DEP Bureau of Laboratories.

DEP also will take monthly water samples in a 2-mile radius of the derailment site to watch for any long-term impacts.

DEP’s Bureau of Environmental Cleanup and Brownfields has evaluated the derailment site and determined there is no likely contamination of water wells in Pennsylvania, according to the news release.

Based on air monitoring results at the time of the derailment, DEP found no concerning air or water quality readings that left the 2-mile radius of the incident and entered Pennsylvania.

Those with concerns about their water well should call DEP’s Southwest Regional Office at 412-442-4000.

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