Contaminated Groundwater in Ohio and the Long Cleanup
On February 3, 2023, the Southern Norfolk train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio caused a major toxic chemical spill when 38 cars went off the tracks. The most significant chemical that was spilled was vinyl chloride, a chemical used in the production of plastics and known to be extremely toxic to all living beings, plants, and animals alike. One of the significant hazards of this chemical spill is the toxic vinyl chloride contamination of Ohio’s groundwater. Vinyl chloride in water is both a serious threat to the environment and perilous to the people living in the area.
Water Contamination in Ohio
The effects of the Southern Norfolk train derailment on the groundwater in the area are already visible. The toxic chemicals in Ohio water are affecting the people who rely on it for their daily needs, as groundwater is sent to their homes and pumped through their faucets. Those currently suffering from this event are extremely concerned about the safety of their water supply, and rightfully so.
The long-term effects of a chemical spill affecting water are well-documented, with the Huron River chemical spill being a prime example. The Huron River spill occurred in 2019 when 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the river. The long-term effects of the spill were severe, and the cleanup process took years to complete. In the case of East Palestine, Ohio, it’s expected that the cleanup process will take a similarly long time, and the long-term effects of the spill will be significant.
The Impact on Ohio’s Groundwater Supply
Groundwater is an essential source of fresh water for people living in many regions of the world. In Ohio, more than 3 million people rely on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water. However, contamination of groundwater is a common problem in many regions, and the consequences of contaminated groundwater can be devastating. The water contamination in Ohio can cause illnesses, diseases, and even death, particularly when it comes to toxic chemicals like vinyl chloride in water.
Groundwater contamination is a serious issue, and it’s essential to understand what it means for the surrounding populace. The toxic chemicals in Ohio water can cause a range of health problems, including skin irritation, stomach problems, liver damage, and even cancer. In the case of vinyl chloride in water, it’s essential to note that the chemical is a known carcinogen, meaning that it poses a high cancer risk. The effects of exposure to toxic chemicals like vinyl chloride can take years to manifest, making it even more critical to take immediate action to prevent exposure.
How to Clean Contaminated Groundwater
In a case like this, understanding how to clean contaminated groundwater is crucial. Cleaning up contaminated groundwater is a long and difficult process, and often involves a combination of technologies, including pumping and treating contaminated water, soil vapor extraction, and bioremediation. In the case of East Palestine, the cleanup process is expected to be long and costly, and the people who are affected by the contamination will likely have to live with the effects of the spill for years to come.
The Long Road Ahead to Safe Drinking Water
The water contamination in Ohio is devastating, and the long-term effects of the spill will be significant. Groundwater contamination is a serious issue, and it’s essential to take immediate action to prevent exposure to toxic chemicals like vinyl chloride in water. Cleaning up contaminated groundwater takes time and effort. In the meantime, residents are encouraged to invest in water sterilizers and filters that hook up to their main water line for everyday tasks like showering and washing clothes. But for drinking water? We’re suggesting to not take chances and for residents to drink bottled water until groundwater tests come back clean and pipes have been cleaned or replaced to prevent residual contamination.