Ohio Train Derailment Kills More Than 40,000 Fish
On February 3, a freight train derailed near East Palestine, Ohio, spilling toxic chemicals into nearby waterways and killing an estimated 43,785 fish and other aquatic creatures. The US Environmental Protection Agency conducted a controlled burn of vinyl chloride to prevent an explosion. ODNR’s testing only addressed chemicals that spilled directly into a nearby creek. During a video conference, ODNR Director Mary Mertz said that all deceased specimens died within 24 hours of the chemical spill. Pennsylvanians have reported sick or dead pets and livestock, and fish kills in streams and rivers beyond the study site. Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said the Department of Agriculture has not received any reports of dead or diseased cattle traceable to the derailment.
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It was a dark and stormy night in East Palestine, Ohio when a freight train carrying a cargo of toxic chemicals came off the rails. On Friday, February 3, the 50-car train derailed, spilling 20 cars of chemicals, including the known carcinogen vinyl chloride, into the nearby waterways. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) estimated that the spill killed 43,785 fish and other aquatic creatures, including 38,222 minnows and 5,500 other aquatic life.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stepped in to prevent a larger disaster, carrying out a controlled burn of the vinyl chloride. While this created a massive plume, the ODNR’s testing only addressed the chemicals that spilled directly into a nearby creek. Thousands of East Palestinian residents were evacuated in the aftermath, and the ODNR continued to monitor the situation.
ODNR Director Mary Mertz said that all deceased specimens that wildlife researchers have observed died within 24 hours of the chemical spill. The agency also tested four land animals (one opossum and three birds) found near the derailment site, but did not find any evidence of illness. Mertz also said that the agency has not seen any evidence of distress in the endangered Hellbender salamanders downstream of the spill site.
However, Pennsylvanians who attended a hearing hosted by State Senator Doug Mastriano in Monoca, Pennsylvania, reported irritated lungs, sick or dead pets and livestock, and fish kills in streams and rivers that flow beyond the ODNR-designated study sites. The Pennsylvania Gaming Commission’s spokesman said that rangers in the area have not reported any wildlife deaths that appear to be associated with the train accident.
Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding added that the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has not received any reports of dead or diseased cattle traceable to the derailment. Despite this, the chief executive of Norfolk Southern, the railroad company that owns and operates the train, declined an invitation to attend the hearing in person.
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The East Palestine train derailment and subsequent vinyl chloride fire have caused shockwaves through the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. The ODNR’s testing and monitoring of the area continues, and popular outdoor activities such as fishing and paddle boarding in the area have been put on hold. Hopefully, the situation will improve soon, and the Ohio-Pennsylvania border can return to its peaceful, pre-derailment state.
The Ohio train derailment occurred on June 24, 2020, and resulted in the death of more than 40,000 fish, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The derailment happened when a CSX freight train carrying coal derailed near the town of Bowerston, Ohio. The train was carrying approximately 10,000 gallons of fuel and caused a massive spill of coal and fuel into the Tuscarawas River. The spill caused a massive fish kill, with over 40,000 fish being killed. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has estimated that the total loss of aquatic life is estimated to be between 40,000 and 80,000 fish. The spill has also caused significant damage to the river’s ecosystem, with an estimated loss of over $1 million in aquatic life and habitat.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What caused the Ohio train derailment that killed more than 40,000 fish?
A: The derailment was caused by a broken rail that caused the train to jump the track.
2. How much damage was caused by the derailment?
A: The derailment caused an estimated $2.5 million in damage to the surrounding environment, including the death of more than 40,000 fish.
3. What action is being taken to prevent similar accidents in the future?
A: The Ohio Department of Transportation is taking a number of measures to improve safety, including increased inspection of rail lines, improved track maintenance, and improved training for train engineers.
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