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EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WJW) — The village’s water is safe to drink and shows no signs of contamination after a train derailment spilled toxic chemicals earlier this month, state officials announced Wednesday.
New test results of the municipal system’s raw and treated water turned in to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency showed contaminants weren’t detected in the five wells that serve most of the area’s residents, according to a news release from Gov. Mike DeWine’s office.
Kurt Kollar of the Ohio EPA previously said drinking wells are designed to protect against surface water contamination.
The village’s five wells are about one mile from the derailment site, according to the release. They’re more than 50 feet below ground and covered by “a solid steel casing that protects the water from contamination,” reads the release. The water from those wells is combined at the village’s treatment plant before it reaches residents’ taps.
“Although it was unlikely that any contaminants entered the wells that serve the municipal water supply, Ohio EPA tested the combined, treated water soon after the derailment. Those tests showed no contamination,” reads the release. “Out of an abundance of caution, Ohio EPA took samples of raw, untreated water directly from all five wells over the past week. A new sample of the combined, treated water was also collected.
“As noted above, new testing results from the five wells, as well as the treated water sample, showed no evidence of contamination associated with the derailment.”
What about private wells?
Private drinking wells may be closer to the surface than the village’s wells.
Ohio EPA recommends residents with private wells call 330-849-3919 to have their well water tested for contaminants.
Residents who rely on drinking wells are urged to only use bottled water until their wells are tested.
Here’s a list of other laboratories around the state that are certified to test for volatile organic compounds like the vinyl chloride that spilled in the derailment.