COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — The Ohio governor, head of the EPA, and an Ohio congressman drank tap water from an East Palestine home to demonstrate the water there was safe.
This comes after suspicions from residents and elsewhere about the water quality following a trainwreck involving cars carrying toxic materials.
Final water testing results released on Feb. 17 by the Ohio EPA said the water was safe to drink and showed "no detection of contaminants associated with the derailment."
The EPA said it has tested indoor air quality at 550 homes so far.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) have both acknowledged the rights of residents to be skeptical.
“We know that the science says that East Palestine is safe, but we also know that residents are very worried,” DeWine said. “They are asking themselves 'Is my headache just a headache? Or is it a result of the chemical spill? Are other medical symptoms caused by the spill?' Those are very legitimate questions and residents deserve answers.”
About 4,600 yards of contaminated soil and 1.1 million gallons of contaminated water have been removed, DeWine said at a press conference.
On Tuesday, state and federal officials themselves demonstrated that the water is safe to drink.
In at least two homes, DeWine, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan, and Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) poured glasses of water from taps and took sips on camera.
One resident said he couldn't ask for more reassurance.
Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and East Palestine officials also drank water last week after the final water quality tests were released.
Officials on both sides of the political spectrum have called for an investigation and for rail operator Norfolk Southern to be held accountable.
“The combination of Norfolk Southern's corporate greed, incompetence, and lack of concern for our residents is absolutely unacceptable to me,” said Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro.
Senators Brown, J.D. Vance (R-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), and John Fetterman (D-PA) signed a letter last week asking the EPA to " hold Norfolk Southern accountable for all remediation activities in the short- and long-term."