Advance Notice: Briefs

Stop dumping toxic train-derailment waste in metro Detroit, lawsuit says

By: - March 24, 2023 7:00 am

Aerial view of the train derailment wreckage in East Palestine. | Screenshot from NTSB B-roll recorded Feb. 5, 2023

A Wayne County man is suing Norfolk Southern Corp. for exposing communities to “potential significant harm” when it transported and disposed hazardous waste from the Ohio train derailment to Wayne County facilities last month.

The lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court alleges the company endangered the community by not properly monitoring the toxic waste before it was dumped at the Republican Industrial and Energy Solutions facility in Romulus and the U.S. Ecology Wayne Disposal landfill in Belleville.

“The toxic and hazardous chemical material can contaminate groundwater, soil, and air, causing serious health risks and environmental damage,” the lawsuit states. “Without adequate safeguards, and monitoring, the risk of harm will persist unabated.”

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The train derailment on the night of Feb. 3 released more than 1 million gallons of hazardous materials and pollutants into the environment in East Palestine, Ohio.

Since then, Norfolk Southern has been looking for places to dump the hazardous materials.

More than 300,000 gallons of liquid hazardous waste were dumped in the Romulus well, and about 440 tons of solid waste were deposited in the Belleville landfill, according to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

After public outcry from residents and local, state, and federal officials, the Environmental Protection Agency halted more shipments of hazardous waste to Wayne County.

Darwich is urging Wayne County Judge Charlene Elder to “issue an order requiring Norfolk Southern to immediately cease the transportation and dumping of toxic chemicals from Ohio to Michigan, and to take any necessary steps to remediate the harm caused by its recent activities, including necessary oversight, testing, and sampling of the containment area, and necessary maintenance to ensure proper containment.”

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Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist with the Detroit Metro Times. He operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker, Neavling was a five-year veteran of the Detroit Free Press, covering Detroit’s city hall.