We are told that contaminated water from the wreckage will be treated and discharged in Baltimore. In a March 25 statement, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, a Democrat, announced that Clean Harbors Environmental Services has contracted with Norfolk Southern to:
"... accept, treat, and discharge the wastewater collected from rainwater, collected water, and stream water above and below the cleanup site."
The Baltimore city-run Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant in Dundalk will be tasked with doing all this, according to the company.
"The facility is one of a number of facilities in locations around the country selected to process this material," Scott said about the situation. "Both the city and the county teams have been in touch with the governor's office as well as with the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency]."
Strangely, the Back River plant in Dundalk that is slated to receive contaminated wastewater from East Palestine exploded last week, tearing holes through three walls and triggering a fire. Officials claim they do not know what caused the explosion and fire, but they insist that the incident will not impact the facility's waste disposal capabilities.
(Related: Area residents who breathed in chemical toxins from train derailment are now developing "chemical bronchitis.")
Due to obvious public concerns about the dumping of toxic, albeit treated, wastewater, Scott further emphasized that his office has instructed "local teams" to "do their due diligence to be certain that there is no risk to the health and safety [of] our residents and our environment."
What this actually entails remains unknown. However, Scott explained that the city is seeking a legal opinion from the attorney general's office concerning the city's "requirement" to discharge all the waste stemming from the Norfolk Southern train derailment.
A March 22 letter written to the Baltimore City Department of Public Works, Clean Harbors claimed that the site in Baltimore that was chosen for dumping is an "optimal wastewater treatment site" for the treatment and processing of all the wastewater.
As soon as it receives approval, Clean Harbors plans to start receiving shipments of the wastewater. Its first load will contain 675,000 gallons of the muck, which ironically enough is scheduled to arrive by train.
"The proposed treatment scheme will be carbon adsorption using 4×12 mesh reagglomerated carbon followed by inorganic metals removal as needed," Clean Harbors wrote in the letter. "The primary constituent of concern is vinyl chloride."
Maryland is not the only state now in the crosshairs for the dumping of wastewater from East Palestine. Efforts to also dump the stuff in Oklahoma are also in the works, though the government there is attempting to block it, as well as all transportation of contaminated wastewater through its borders.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan stated publicly that Oklahoma has no valid reason to block these shipments, further suggesting that the state does not have the authority to even impose a block.
"This is impermissible and this is unacceptable," Regan complained about Oklahoma's proposed ban.
Some of the contaminated wastewater has already been sent to Indiana for further transport to Michigan and Texas in the coming days. So far, according to a March 23 update issued by the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, some 7.9 million gallons of liquid wastewater have been removed from East Palestine so far.
More of the latest news about the situation in East Palestine can be found at Chemicals.news.
Sources for this article include: