DEP Reports No Signs of Groundwater Contamination near Norfolk Southern Train Derailment

The Department of Environmental Protection conducted independent water sampling throughout the affected area to closely monitor water contamination risks related to the East Palestine train derailment. DEP announced the first round of results show no signs of groundwater contamination in Pennsylvania.

“The Department of Environmental Protection has been leading our own independent testing to determine the impacts of the train derailment, and keep Pennsylvanians informed and safe,” said Rich Negrin, Acting Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. “The negative results are an encouraging sign for Pennsylvania residents. DEP will continue collecting samples over the next several months and the Commonwealth will continue to lead the way so that Pennsylvanians are aware of and protected from any threats to their safety and resources that may arise.”

DEP analyzed the water samples collected from private drinking water wells for vinyl chloride, ethanol, and glycol, which are chemicals of concern and were on the train cars and could have potentially contaminated groundwater, a drinking water source. The preliminary results did not detect the presence of any of the chemicals of concern. DEP is in the process of developing a method to share water sampling data publicly.

DEP has also begun collecting soil samples from Pennsylvania properties within a 2-mile radius of the derailment site to determine any impacts from soot and ash to agricultural properties from the derailment and the controlled burn of train cars containing vinyl chloride. Properties were selected for sampling based on reported ash and other materials deposited from the derailment and fire. These samples will be used to help inform farmers and residents about any possible risks ahead of the upcoming planting season.