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City of Akron, County of Summit, and Summit County Public Health Issue Statement Regarding Environmental Impact of East Palestine Incident


City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of City of Akron Press Office, County of Summit, Summit County Public Health
Published: 02-14-2023

Akron, Ohio, February 14, 2023 — On February 3, a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying vinyl chloride derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, approximately 67 miles southeast of Akron, on the Pennsylvania border. In an effort to avoid an explosion, railroad and state authorities began a controlled release and burn of the vinyl chloride on Feb. 6. The plume from the burn has since dissipated, and all previously damaged train cars have been removed. In light of this incident, the City and county have experienced multiple questions and concerns related to the potential environmental impacts to our water supply and air quality.

"While this was a major life disrupting event for those who live in that area, the air pollution from the events was transported to the south and east by the winds,” said Sam Rubens, Administrator of the local air agency, Akron Regional Air Quality Management District, a service of Summit County Public Health. “We live about 60 miles west and north of the scene, so no air pollution was brought our way. We have no concerns about the pollutants locally. There is no action that needs to be taken by our local residents.”

“In Summit County, our water supply and air quality are tested daily,” said County Executive Ilene Shapiro.  “There is no indication that our water or air have been impacted by the events in East Palestine.  We continue to stay in contact with Summit County Public Health, who do an exceptional job of keeping us all safe and healthy.”

The City of Akron’s Water Supply Bureau performs regular testing of the City’s drinking water reservoirs, tributary streams and 24/7/365 monitoring of the tap water before it flows to homes and businesses. Because the source of Akron’s drinking water is from the upper Cuyahoga River Watershed within the Great Lakes Basin, the risk of contamination from the accident in East Palestine is extremely low.

“While this accident has greatly impacted those in the East Palestine area, we have no indication that its impact has reached the Akron community,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. “We will of course continue to monitor the situation and our water supply carefully, as we always do, to make sure the high quality of our supply is maintained.”

Additional Resources:
U.S. EPA Response site:

Columbiana County:

For further information, contact:
Stephanie Marsh
Chief Communications Officer
Phone: 330-375-2754
E-mail: [email protected]

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