HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The Huntington Sanitary Board is processing an application that would allow treated water collected at the train derailment site in East Palestine, Ohio, receive its final treatment at the Huntington Wastewater Treatment Plant before being discharged into the Ohio River.
The application under consideration is from Huntington-based wastewater treatment company Valicor which has entered an agreement with Norfolk Southern to treat the rain water collected from the contaminated train derailment site.
Huntington Sanitary Board Executive Director Brian Bracey tells MetroNews the federal EPA requires the collected water to be non-hazardous before it leaves East Palestine.
“For it to be able to leave East Palestine it has to be non-hazardous water,” Bracey said Wednesday. “So it can’t have the contaminants. It basically has to meet drinking water standards before it can be processed again.”
Rehabilitation of the site where the major train derailment took place on Feb. 3 includes the collection of rainwater after it is soaked into the contaminated ground. The federal EPA is requiring Norfolk Southern to treat the water on site and then contract with an off-site company for further cleaning before it is goes back into the river.
Bracey said Valicor plans to receive the water and treat it in Huntington with its granulated carbon system and then truck it to the city’s wastewater treatment plant in Westmoreland where it will be processed again before discharge.
Bracey said the EPA is very conscientious of ensuring that all of the processes are in place.
“So when that rainwater gets back into the Ohio River it’s as clean as drinking water standards can be,” Bracey said.
The Huntington Sanitary Board discussed the Valicor application during its Tuesday morning meeting. Bracey said he anticipates the application could be approved later this fall. There will be a public comment period. The sanitary board will also need permits from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The application could last for up to a year. The Huntington Sanitary Board will charge Valicor for processing the water just like it does other industrial customers, Bracey said.
“The rateholders, or for me, my customers are not paying for any of this,” Bracey said. “This is all on Valicor and ultimately all on Norfolk Southern for the cost incurred for this.”
Huntington’s wastewater treatment plant is entirely separate from how city residents receive drinking water.
Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, who is a member of the sewer board, said Tuesday the health and safety of residents is the top priority.
“We will be holding all parties involved to the highest levels of accountability and scrutiny,” Williams said.