Holcomb says test results clear East Palestine waste for disposal in Indiana

Testing on the initial loads of waste from an Ohio train wreck sent to an Indiana hazardous waste landfill has determined the products are safe for disposal. That’s according to a statement released late Wednesday by Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Holcomb said Pace Labs completed the testing on shipments that were en route over the weekend to Heritage Environmental Services’ facility in Roachdale, about 40 miles west of Indianapolis. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency selected Heritage to receive debris from the train derailment last month in East Palestine, Ohio.

The governor initially objected to the EPA’s decision last month to send waste from the East Palestine site to Indiana, arguing sites closer to the wreckage should be considered first.

The Roachdale site is roughly 350 miles west of East Palestine, on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border.

Heritage promotes the Roachdale landfill as having been certified nearly 40 years ago to handle hazardous materials. The company said it was a first-of-its-kind type of facility and that it was geographically isolated.

The governor then announced last Thursday the state would conduct its own testing with Pace Labs hired as the third-party contractor.

Pace tested the materials for dioxins and found they did not exceed what the EPA considers acceptable levels of the highly toxic chemical compounds.

“Furthermore, these results demonstrate that the site operator is lawfully permitted to dispose of that material at its site,” the governor said. “We have informed the EPA and the site operator of these testing results.”

The EPA has since announced it would test materials at the wreck site before being approved for shipping to the Heritage landfill.

“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 added.

Earlier this week, the EPA announced work began removing soil from the wreckage site where 50 cars from a 150-car train were derailed. Some of those cars were known to carry hazardous materials.

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