Officials: Air, water and soil safe after Clark County derailment; no injuries reported

Journal News Train Derailment.png
Posted at 7:39 PM, Mar 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-06 18:00:37-05

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Local and state first responders confirmed no hazardous materials were found at a train derailment site near the Clark County Fairgrounds, according to a statement released early Sunday morning.

About 20 of the 212 cars on a Norfolk Southern train derailed in Springfield, Ohio at around 4:57 p.m. on Saturday. Four tankers on the train were identified with non-hazardous materials: two with residual amounts of diesel exhaust fluid and two with residual amounts of polyacrylamide water solution.

After the derailment, residents within 1,000 feet were asked to shelter in place “out of an abundance of caution,” per the Clark County Emergency Management Agency. That order has since been lifted.

Residents were asked not to travel Ohio 41 that day and power outages were reported in the area because of downed power lines.

No injuries have been reported as a result of the derailment.

On Saturday, Springfield Twp. Fire Department officials responded first and deployed the Clark County Hazmat team to identify the scope of the incident.

A county statement issued early Sunday read: “There is no indication of any injuries or risk to public health at this time. A crew from the owner/operator of the railway Norfolk Southern, the Clark County Hazmat team and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency each independently examined the crash site and verified there was no evidence of spillage at the site.”

Officials said the derailment is not in an area with a protected water source, “meaning there is no risk to public water systems or private wells at this time, according to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.”


Officials reiterated in a press conference Monday afternoon that air, soil and water in the area around the derailment remain safe.

Also present at the press conference were officials from Norfolk Southern.

"We're investigating all of these incidents, we're cooperating with the NTSB. We're cooperating with the local, state and federal resources to make sure we investigate them full, understand what can be done better," said Connor Spielmaker, senior communications manager at Norfolk Southern.

The Ohio EPA was slated to arrive in Springfield Twp. on Sunday to oversee cleanup of the site, and Route 41 will remain closed until further notice.

Diesel exhaust fluid and polacrylamide Water Solution are common industrial products shipped via railroad, the county statement said. Norfolk Southern immediately provided a containment list, the statement said, and first responders had access to the list via the ASKRAIL app.

The derailment in Springfield happened just over one month after another train, also owned by Norfolk Southern, derailed on Feb. 3 in East Palestine, Ohio. During that derailment, about 50 cars, including 10 carrying hazardous materials, derailed in a fiery crash in East Palestine, according to rail operator Norfolk Southern and the National Transportation Safety Board. Vinyl chloride was slowly released into the air at that time from five of those cars before crews ignited it to get rid of the highly flammable, toxic chemicals in a controlled environment, creating a dark plume of smoke.

Ohio has the fifth-highest rail traffic in the country, spanning 5,000 miles of track, 5,685 public grade crossings and 36 freight railroads operating within the state.