INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb has ordered a third-party lab to conduct testing on the hazardous material being shipped from East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment to a landfill in Putnam County.
Holcomb previously blasted the decision to bring the toxic material into Indiana while citing a lack of communication about the plans to transport the derailment debris across the Hoosier state.
Pace Labs has been chosen by Holcomb’s administration to conduct testing on the toxic waste, some of which already has been transported to the Indiana landfill.
“Effective immediately, I have directed our administration to contract with a nationally recognized laboratory to begin rigorous 3rd party testing for dangerous levels of dioxins on the material being transported to the Roachdale facility from the East Palestine train spill,” Holcomb said on Thursday.
He reaffirmed his disappointment in the EPA’s lack of communication, citing about how he learned of the waste being transported into Indiana via a press conference.
Holcomb claimed that the decision by the EPA to move the waste into Indiana was made “after our administration directly conveyed that the materials should go to the nearest facilities, not moved from the far eastern side of Ohio to the far western side of Indiana.”
Waste samples are scheduled to be tested on Friday, Holcomb said.
“All of us can agree that we should do everything within our control to provide assurance to our communities. This testing is the next necessary step. Since making this decision, we have informed the EPA and the site operator urging them to coordinate closely with this 3rd party laboratory to carry out this important testing,” Holcomb stated.
On Wednesday night, officials with Heritage Environmental — the landfill where the waste is being stored — held an informative session attended by hundreds of concerned Putnam County citizens.
Heritage Environment addressed the matter of a recent EPA violation and stated the issue was not a leak and that the matter had been resolved.
“The most environmentally responsible thing to do with this material is to bring it to this facility,” one Heritage Environmental employee said at the meeting. The comment was met with loud boos from the crowd.
“The landfill is specifically designed the way it is to keep the contaminants in the spot forever so it would never get out into the environment, contaminate anybody’s water supply,” one employee said. “There’s facilities like this across the nation.”
Heritage said EPA testing and approval was completed prior to the material arriving on Wednesday. Heritage said the truckloads of toxic waste were transported by third-party companies that are heavily regulated. At an earlier press conference, the company said there were expecting 2,000 tons of soil.