News & Reviews News Wire Norfolk Southern concludes removal of contaminated soil from East Palestine

Norfolk Southern concludes removal of contaminated soil from East Palestine

By Trains Staff | October 31, 2023

| Last updated on February 2, 2024

More than 175,000 tons of earth have been removed from site of February derailment and chemical release

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A view of the East Palestine, Ohio, derailment site on July 27 show progress made on cleanup. Norfolk Southern has concluded excavation of contaminated soil from the derailment area. NS

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — The last loads of contaminated soil have been removed from the site of February’s East Palestine derailment, according to local news reports.

WKBN-TV reports the final excavation at the derailment site was completed Sunday evening. More than 175,000 tons of soil have been removed from the site, with Bob Scoble, Norfolk Southern manager, environmental operations, saying the work has required 30 to 100 truckloads per day.

“We’re confident we’re going to get everything,” Scoble told WEWS-TV. “If for some reason we missed something, we’re going to be here to get it.” Soil testing will continue over the next five to six months, while fresh soil and stone will be brought in to fill an area roughly the length of six football fields, according to the station.

NS’s costs as a result of the derailment are approaching $1 billion, company officials said during the railroad’s most recent quarterly earnings call. And its work to address the toxic chemical release following the Feb. 3 derailment is not yet done; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently ordered further cleanup of creeks near the site [see “EPA orders more work …,” Trains News Wire, Oct. 19, 2023].

3 thoughts on “Norfolk Southern concludes removal of contaminated soil from East Palestine

  1. Back in ca2008, it was time to do a complete overhaul of one of my transcontinental SP/UP microwave (MW) sites on the Heliograph Peak of Mt Graham, in s.e. AZ. This MW system was first built ca1967 by SPRR with 600 multiplexed long distance, analog channel Lenkurt, (later Collins) MW radio capability, and was also joined by SPRR’s subsidiary, Southern Pacific Comm. Co, later renamed Sprint, an acronym for Southern Pacific Railroad Internal Network Telecommunications, with a multiplexed 2400 analog channel capability, and maintained by Sprint’s own non-railroad technicians.

    There was no commercial electric power available back then, (and probably the same today) so SPRR built a prefab 10′ X 20′ X 8′ powerhouse building for full time, 24/7/365 diesel generators with a 12,000 (today EPA dbl wall approved 10,000), gal diesel fuel tank, to power both the SPRR and Sprint telecom operations. Sprint, by then, became it’s own company, and they pulled out of MW radio CA1990, in favor of fiber optic cable along the I10 corridor, but UPRR has continued on since 2008 rebuilding with VOiP NEC MW to this day.

    I took over the MW/UHF/VHF site as comm. tech. from my predecessor in 1984 maintaining both the radios as well as the generator’s diesel engines. Due to various union agreements, the company mechanics would not maintain the diesel generator engines due to inflexible poor powerhouse planning, so it was up to me/us to do all the maintenance and light/medium repairs of the generator diesels. No complaints from me, as that job sure put the bread on my table, as no other comm. tech. had diesel engine knowledge and didn’t want to get their hands dirty anyway…lol! And the RR electricians maintained the generator armature, transfer switch, high voltage building electricity and MW tower dish heaters. I might add that this MW radio site was only winter accessible with a 5 passenger Thyocol, Spryte 1200 snow cat permanently assigned to me for my last 26 of 42 years in RR telecom.

    After a Conrail Title5 buyout and one year with Delaware-Otsego, I hired on with SPRR telecom replacing my 1967-1984 predecessor in 1984, and in 2008, after over 40+ years of diesel generator fulltime operation, it became quite apparent that it was time for a complete MW site powerhouse and MW radio (from analog to VoIP) overhaul.

    That entailed removal of the old oil and grease saturated fiberglass-wood building including removal of 40 years of accumulated oil & grease under that generator building, by hiring an EPA approved clean-up outfit out of Phoenix, AZ, and satisfying the U.S Forest Service, hauling all that contaminated dirt off the mountain. I’m sure glad it wasn’t me that had to pay that enormous clean-up bill…lol!!!.

  2. The photograph of the “site” accompanying this posting is not consistent with the photograph accompanying the following posting entitled, “Attorney Generals call for additions to the federal proposal . . .” The latter photograph, depicting the site as encompassing a broad curve and with several groves of trees and little in the way of immediate trackside structures, is almost certainly the correct one.

  3. NS will be hit on by Ohio and Pennsylvania politicians for as long as the company exists or allows it to continue.

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