HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — The chemical plume of butyl acrylate. from the Feb. 3 East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment is believed to hit Huntington “sometime tomorrow,” according to a press release from Gov. Mike DeWine’s (R-OH) office.
As of Thursday, West Virginia American Water says there are no drinking water advisories in the Huntington area.
DeWine says the plume of butyl acrylate in the Ohio River is near Gallipolis in Gallia County, which is about 225 miles southwest of the East Palestine train derailment. Huntington, West Virginia, is around 40 miles south of Gallipolis.
After the derailment, butyl acrylate was found in Weirton. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, butyl acrylate is a clear, colorless liquid and has a characteristic fruity odor. It is used to make paints, coatings, sealants, etc. The National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website says the chemical is “somewhat” less dense than water and can form a “surface slick” on water.
DeWine says the butyl acrylate in the Ohio River is at three parts per billion. The safest level to consume is 560 parts per billion, according to DeWine.
He says no vinyl chloride is being detected in the Ohio River.
The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission and other agencies are sampling and monitoring the water at different locations and are closing intakes that could possibly allow butyl acrylate to contaminate the drinking water.
Gov. DeWine says he sent a letter to the CDC to send medical experts to “evaluate and counsel members of the community who have questions and/or are experiencing symptoms.”
In regard to weather and rain runoff, the Governor says there are plans in place to not allow any contaminants to get into local waterways.
DeWine says the emissions people are seeing in the area of East Palestine on Wednesday are because “the railroad was using steam to heat a damaged railcar containing paraffin wax. The melted wax was transported into another tank without being exposed to the air.”
As of Thursday, 474 homes in East Palestine have been tested for volatile organic compounds (VOC). The press release says VOCs are seen in things like paint, flooring, carpet, furniture and cigarette smoke. The testing is voluntary, but if you want to have it done, call 330-849-3919.
3,150 cubic yards of contaminated soil and 942,000 gallons of contaminated water have been removed, according to DeWine.
In regard to wildlife and farm and domestic animals, the total number of aquatic animals that have died is around 3,500. The Ohio Department of Agriculture is analyzing the tissue of a calf that died on Feb. 11 around two miles away from East Palestine.
If you believe your pet has become sick because of the train derailment, contact your local veterinarian.
Governor Jim Justice (R-WV) tells West Virginians they will hear updates from his office if anything is “the least bit alarming.”
“There’s lots and lots of updates and if we get anything that seems the least bit alarming, you’ll hear immediately from me. But, right now, I think we are in great shape and we are going to stay on top of it,” Justice says.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released a statement on the train derailment.
“While I am glad EPA Administrator Regan will visit the site today, it is unacceptable that it took nearly two weeks for a senior Administration official to show up. I urge President Biden, Administrator Regan, and Transportation Secretary Buttigieg to provide a complete picture of the damage and a comprehensive plan to ensure the community is supported in the weeks, months and years to come, and this sort of accident never happens again.” Manchin said. “The damage done to East Palestine and the surrounding region is awful and it’s past time for those responsible to step up to the plate.”