WQA offers drinking water suggestions after Ohio derailment

Feb. 20, 2023
While environmental testing continues, these suggestions by the Water Quality Association can ease residents’ concerns over water safety.

The Water Quality Association (WQA) has issued a press release providing suggestions for temporary drinking water safety measures for residents in the wake of a train derailment and chemical release in East Palestine, Ohio.

The association urges healthy caution as officials continue to test for air, water and soil contamination after the Feb. 3 derailment and fire, which resulted in a subsequent chemical release and public worries over water quality.

“Possible groundwater contamination is a concern, especially for residents on private well supplies,” said Eric Yeggy, WQA Technical Affairs Director. “And homeowners who get their water from municipal water systems should be alert for any instructions issued by their local officials.”

The Norfolk Southern Railroad submitted a correction plan to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency on Monday, pledging to install wells to monitor groundwater and sample soil. The EPA has said about 20 of the 50 derailed cars were carrying hazardous materials, and chemicals that have been released to the air, soil and surface water.

The EPA has so far said that it had not detected contaminants at “levels of concern” in the immediate area, although testing will continue. The West Virginia subsidiary of American Water it had not detected any changes in the water at its Ohio River intake site, although the company installed a secondary intake on the Guyandotte River in case an alternate source was needed and said it had enhanced its treatment processes.

WQA encourages well owners in the area to test their systems and seek appropriate remedies as soon as possible. WQA suggests a three-step process of consulting with a local water quality expert, testing the home’s water for contaminants and then seeking products certified to treat those contaminants. On the association’s website, consumers can find a local water treatment expert to help with this process.

Residents on public water supplies should be alert for any notices from their local water company or health officials. Those who have other concerns about their water safety can use bottled water for drinking or cooking as a temporary measure.

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