Standing at Leslie Run Creek in East Palestine, the Ohio village that is dealing with the aftermath of a toxic train derailment on Feb. 3, Sen. J.D. Vance (R–Ohio) released a video that showed him taking a stick and scraping the bottom of the shallow creek.
Rainbow-colored substances rose to the surface.
“There are dead worms and dead fish all throughout this water” and “chemicals coming out of the ground,” Vance said. “This is disgusting. And the fact that we have not cleaned up the train crash, the fact that these chemicals are still seeping into the ground is an insult to the people who live in East Palestine.”
On Feb. 17, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was asked about the video during his press briefing.
“I know that there’s been some video played on TV circulating of visible contamination in one of the local waterways,” DeWine said. “A section of Sulfur Run that is very near the crash site remains severely contaminated. We knew this. We know this. It’s going to take a while to remediate this.”
A polluted section of Sulphur Run stream was dammed in two places not long after the crash to prevent other local waterways from being contaminated, DeWine explained.
Crews were pumping clean water from the eastern dam, moving it away from the contaminated section of the stream, and releasing it at the western dam to pass clean water around the contaminated area.
“This allows clean water to bypass the area of the derailment and prevents clean water from picking up contaminants and carrying them into other waterways,” DeWine said. “The remediation of the water in the direct area of the spill is going to take some time, just as it is taking some time to deal with the dirt.”
He added: “This is not a simple process. We’re encouraging people to continue to avoid that area.”
On Feb. 3, a Norfolk Southern Railway train derailed in East Palestine, spilling toxic chemicals and causing lingering fires. To prevent an explosion, officials decide to conduct a controlled burn, releasing the chemicals into the air.