In addition, the agency alleges that four other chemicals besides vinyl chloride were transported by rail cars.

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a “General Notice of Potential Liability” letter to Norfolk Southern on Friday detailing areas where the company may be liable for damage and cleanup related to the train derailment site in Eastern Palestine.

In the letter, the EPA detailed its investigation into the release of “hazardous substances, pollutants or pollutants” into the environment related to the events that occurred immediately after and as a result of the train derailment.

EPA has concluded that Norfolk Southern may be liable for the cleanup of the derailment site or the costs incurred by EPA to clean up the site under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).

As part of the notice sent to South Norfolk, the EPA detailed its actions and observations made at the site of the derailment, which can be seen below.

  • Conducted air monitoring around the scene, environment and residential air monitoring as part of the resettlement plan;
  • Sampling of air and water was carried out;
  • Made the following observations:
    1. a. Materials released during the incident were monitored and detected in samples from Cerro Run, Leslie Run, Bull Creek, North Fork, Little Beaver Creek, Little Beaver Creek, and the Ohio River.
    2. Materials related to the incident ended up in storm drains.
    3. Several rail cars and tank cars were observed to derail, break down and/or catch fire, including but not limited to the following materials:
      1. Vinyl chloride
      2. ii. Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether
      3. iii. Ethylhexyl acrylate
      4. IV. Isobutylene
      5. v. Butyl acrylate.
    4. Five railway tanks with vinyl chloride were deliberately punctured; the vinyl chloride was diverted to a dug trench and then burned. e. Areas of contaminated soil and free liquids were noted and potentially covered and/or backfilled during rail line reconstruction, including portions of the trench/pit used for open burning of vinyl chloride.

Norfolk Southern’s response to the notice was released Monday, in which the railroad said it is “willing to perform or fund response measures related to the incident.” You can read the full EPA letter below:

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