PUTNAM COUNTY, Ind. — After the Environmental Protection Agency announced hazardous waste from an Ohio train derailment would be shipped to an Indiana landfill, officials in Putnam County are responding before the first shipment makes its way to the Hoosier State on Tuesday.
The contaminated waste will be received at the Heritage Environmental landfill, which is listed at a Roachdale, Indiana address, although Putnam County officials stated it is more accurate to say the site is actually just east of the town of Russellville.
The train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio on Feb. 3 released toxic chemicals like vinyl chloride, bringing immediate concerns about air and water quality in the surrounding areas and beyond.
While some of the hazardous material was burned off during a controlled release following the derailment, a portion of the waste has already been shipped out across the U.S., including disposal facilities in Michigan and Texas.
The Roachdale landfill and an incinerator in Grafton, Ohio are slated to be the latest recipients of the waste. However, according to Putnam County Emergency Management Agency Director David Costin, the landfill will first test samples of the toxic material to see if it can be processed at the Heritage Environmental facility.
“…If a decision is reached to accept it, then they [Putnam County commissioners] will also hold local community meetings to brief our citizens on the process used, and that it will be done so safely,” said Costin in a statement to CBS4.
Putnam County EMA did not issue a timeline for the testing process but stressed that Heritage Environmental “has always done a very safe and efficient job with the industrial waste that it does process/deposit there.”
CBS4 also reached out to the Indiana Department of Transportation about its possible role in transporting the material. We received the following statement:
INDOT has not been in involved in or received any requests for support related to the movement of hazardous materials from the train derailment site in Ohio.INDOT
The EPA has been steadily testing air, water and soil quality in Ohio following the derailment. The agency said testing has not yet shown anything of concern.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb wasn’t happy with the federal government’s decision to ship the hazardous material from eastern Ohio to Indiana.
“The materials should go to the nearest facilities, not moved from the far eastern side of Ohio to the far western side of Indiana,” he said in part.
Congresswoman Erin Houchin (R-Ind.-09) responded with the following statement:
“I am just as shocked as Governor Holcomb and other Hoosiers to learn that the EPA is transporting hazardous materials nearly 400 miles from the East Palestine train derailment to a facility in Indiana. However, I’m not surprised to see the continued lack of communication from the Administration to the American people and our state leaders about this issue. The Biden Administration has mishandled the response to this tragedy since it happened. Whether it be Secretary Buttigieg, or in this case the EPA, this is simply more of the same. “I strongly oppose bringing these hazardous materials through or around the Ninth District, or to our neighboring Indiana communities, particularly when we have not been given any information about safety protocols taken to protect the public.”Congresswoman Erin Houchin
Sen. Mike Braun also opposed the transfer of the hazardous material into the Hoosier State.
“I am opposed to the transfer of hazardous materials from the East Palestine train derailment into Indiana. The Biden EPA and Transportation Department have mishandled this disaster from day one. Any material from this disaster being transferred to Indiana overseen by this Biden EPA is seriously concerning. Hoosiers’ safety is my top priority.”Sen. Mike Braun