Clark County, state officials say air, soil, water are clean following derailment

Clark County officials said Sunday there is no risk to the public after Saturday’s train derailment in Springfield.

“We’re looking at clean air, clean soil and clean water for our residents here,” Charles Patterson, health commissioner for Clark County Combined Health District said at a news conference on Sunday.

>>PHOTOS: Drone footage shows train derailment near Clark County Fairgrounds

News Center 7 has been following developments since a Norfolk Southern train derailed along State Route 41 around 4:45 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

Officials from the Springfield Township fire department, Clark County Health District, Ohio EPA and Norfolk Southern gave an update Sunday at a news conference about what the train was carrying.

>>PHOTOS: Cleanup underway after Norfolk Southern train derails in Springfield

News Center 7′s Taylor Robertson was on scene Saturday an hour after the train derailed and at the news conference Sunday.

She says officials made it clear there was no release of hazardous materials and no threat to public health following the derailment.

Crews are still out working to clean up the mess as the National Transportation Safety Board begins its investigation.

>>‘Transparency matters;’ Clark County, state officials stress no dangers to public after derailment

“After the research, they did a recon of the site and found nothing has spilled onto the ground,” said Matthew Smith, Assistant Fire Chief/Special Operations with the Springfield Fire Department. “Very minimal material on the actual cars themselves that actually dried very quickly. There is no spillage onto the ground or into the waterways at this time.”

Investigators said Sunday the public should not be worried one day after this train derailed on State Route 41 and Gateway Boulevard.

>>Norfolk Southern train derails in Springfield; No hazardous materials ‘involved’

Robertson reports Ann Vogel, Director of the Ohio EPA, said that PVC pellets did spill from a car into the soil. She added, “There was no release of any chemical or any hazardous material to the soil, to the air, or to the water.”

The cars that went off the track did hit a large power line and Ohio Edison cut the power leaving at least 600 residents in the dark. Power was restored Sunday afternoon, according to an Ohio Edison spokesperson.

>>NTSB to investigate train derailment in Springfield

Dave Nangle, Springfield Township Fire Chief, said because of that, it took hours for crews to get close to the scene.

“Once we got crews in there, we realized there was no hazards leaking, no spillage,” he said.

>>Road closures in Clark County following train derailment in Springfield

Kraig Barner, general manager of Norfolk Southern, said the cars that derailed were not carrying hazardous materials at the time of the derailment.

“Two of them had previously carried diesel exhaust fluid,” he said Sunday. “Two of them had previously carried an additive commonly used in wastewater treatment.”

>>Power restored in Clark County after train derailment in Springfield

Charles Patterson, Clark County Health Commissioner, said initially the health district was looking at the water recharge areas and private wells. He added all the data shows the air, soil and water are clean but health technicians will remain on scene.

“Technicians will continue to be on site to ensure that there isn’t any contamination that has been missed,” he said.

>>‘I started noticing all the debris;’ Witness captures video of train derailment in Springfield

Robertson spoke Sunday with Raegen Ernst, a student at the University of Dayton, who was surprised to hear Norfolk Southern trains had three derailments in the last month.

“I feel like if it happened that often, we should be doing something to change it cause that should not be normal,” said Ernst.

Barner said once the investigation concludes, they will know what changes if any will be made.

“This derailment as all derailments will be fully investigated,” he said Sunday. “The findings will be turned over to the Federal Railroad Administration.”

>>PHOTOS: Ground images of Springfield train derailment

Robertson says according to Barner, once the train cars are cleared from the tracks, about 12 hours of track work will need to be done.

This is a developing story and News Center 7 will continue to update as new information becomes available.

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