East Palestine’s Toxic Spill and the Environmental Impact on the City of Canton
Due to potentially confusing and misleading information being disseminated throughout the community by social media and other sources, the City of Canton is presenting the following information and facts.
In short, the hazardous material spill in East Palestine, Ohio has had zero negative environmental impacts on the City of Canton, its air, its surface water, and its ground water supply. Below is a summary of pertinent facts that relate to all three items.
Local Ground Water Impact: The City of Canton public water system obtains 100% of its drinking water from 3 underground aquifers, all of which are physically independent and isolated from the ground water basin located under the East Palestine, Ohio spill area. To date, there is no available data showing evidence of groundwater contamination in the public water wells serving East Palestine. However, if contamination of ground water in the spill area is detected in the future, it will. not enter Canton’s aquifers because the aquifers are not connected. Canton’s aquifers have not been negatively impacted by this spill in any way and should not be in the future.
Local Surface Water Impact: East Palestine’s surface water collection basin is distinct and physically separate from Canton’s surface water collection basin. See the map link, below. Any contamination at the spill site that was not contained, traveled south, south-east via small runs, tributaries, and streams to the Ohio River. Once in the Ohio River, contaminants traveled downriver at a rate of approximately 1 mile per hour until the plume was diluted before reaching Cincinnati. See the link to Ohio EPA website, below. Therefore, surface water impacted by the spill did not and could not reach waterways near Canton. Canton’s surface water systems have not been negatively impacted by this spill in any way.
Local Air Pollution Impact: During the time of the train derailment starting on February 3 through February 8, 2023, when the fire ceased and the evacuation order was lifted, the winds would have needed to blow from the east to the west to bring any potential contamination to the Canton area. Available wind direction data show that there were no days during this period that the winds blew from East Palestine toward Canton. Therefore, air contamination was not blown toward Canton.
Furthermore, Canton has continuous particulate (PM2.5) samplers located in Canton that have not shown any elevated air quality that is unseasonal. This data is available online at airnow.gov. There is also a USEPA link that contains all of the East Palestine air monitoring data (See USEPA link below). Canton’s air quality has not been negatively impacted by this spill in any way.
Link to drainage basin map from ODNR: https://ohiodnr.gov/discover-and-learn/safety-conservation/about-odnr/water-resources/water-inventory-planning/ohio-watersheds-drainage-basin+maps
Link to website from Ohio EPA: https://epa.ohio.gov/monitor-pollution/pollution-issues/east-palestine
Link to website from USEPA: https://www.epa.gov/oh/east-palestine-ohio-train-derailment-emergency-response
Link to USEPA air monitoring information: https://response.epa.gov/site/site_profile.aspx?site_id=15933
Any other citizen questions: Contact the Ohio EPA, Northeast District Office, Lisa Cochran: (614) 644-2160.