IN Brief

Indiana’s third-party testing on toxic train derailment waste comes back clear

By: - March 9, 2023 1:29 pm

Cleanup after the East Palestine train derailment. (Photo from EPA website)

Gov. Eric Holcomb reported late Wednesday that results from third-party testing on the hazardous waste coming from East Palestine show no harmful levels of dioxins.

“Pace Labs has completed and shared the full results of their third-party dioxin testing I had ordered and expedited last week,” Holcomb said in a statement.

Initial samples were taken on Saturday morning, March 4, and testing began that same day at their Minneapolis laboratory.

“These results indicate that the material tested does not contain any harmful levels of dioxins when compared to acceptable levels established by the EPA,” the governor continued. “We have informed the EPA and the site operator of these testing results.”

Dioxins form when chlorine-based chemicals like vinyl chloride are burned and can settle into soil.

Holcomb had hired the Indianapolis-based company to conduct testing after the EPA started sending truckloads last week to the landfill facility in Roachdale, located about 40 miles west of Indianapolis.

The contract announcement followed an earlier statement from the governor in which he pushed back on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to transport roughly 100 truckloads of contaminated soil from Ohio.

Results released by the governor’s office also showed that the Roachdale site operator, Heritage Environmental Services, “is lawfully permitted to dispose of that material at its site.”

The EPA will require any further materials shipped from East Palestine to undergo dioxin testing before leaving the site in Ohio.

Holcomb has also ordered continued third-party dioxin testing of any and all subsequent loads of soil coming to Indiana from the East Palestine crash site.

“We will have Pace Labs continue to test samples of any future loads that may arrive in Indiana from East Palestine to confirm that none of the material contains harmful levels of dioxins,” Holcomb said.


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Casey Smith
Casey Smith

A lifelong Hoosier, Casey Smith previously reported on the Indiana Legislature for The Associated Press. Internationally, she has reported on water quality across South America. She holds a master’s degree in investigative reporting and narrative science writing from the University of California/Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. She previously earned degrees in journalism, anthropology and Spanish from Ball State University, where she now serves as an instructor of journalism.