Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday addressed a viral video posted by Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, that showed a “chemical rainbow” in a creek in East Palestine, Ohio, near the site of the train derailment that spilled toxic chemicals into the environment.
“I know that there’s been some video played on TV circulating of visible contamination in one of the local waterways,” DeWine said at a press conference providing an update on cleanup efforts and environmental testing in the area.
“A section of Sulfur Run that is very near the crash site remains severely contaminated. We knew this. We know this. It’s going to take a while to remediate this,” the governor said.
A Norfolk Southern train carrying toxic chemicals went off the rails on Feb. 3, causing a fire that damaged multiple cars and led to those dangerous substances leaking into the ground and water, prompting an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
DeWine said a polluted section of Sulphur Run stream was dammed in two places shortly after the accident to prevent other local waterways from contamination. He said teams were pumping clean water from the eastern dam, funneling it away from the contaminated section of the stream, and releasing it back at the western dam to divert clean water around the contamination.
“This allows clean water to bypass the area of the derailment and prevents clean water from picking up contaminants and carrying them into other waterways,” DeWine said. “The remediation of the water in the direct area of the spill is going to take some time, just as it is taking some time to deal with the dirt.”
“This is not a simple process,” he added. “We’re encouraging people to continue to avoid that area.”
Earlier, Vance posted a video showing pollution in Leslie Run Creek, which joins Sulphur Run in the town of East Palestine.
“There are dead worms and dead fish all throughout this water,” Vance said in the video.
At one point, he scraped the bottom of the creek bed with a stick, revealing “chemicals coming out of the ground.”
“This is disgusting,” Vance said.
At the press conference, DeWine said EPA officials have partnered with an independent contractor to conduct air testing in more than 500 homes. Those tests so far have not found contaminants of concern from the train derailment in people’s homes, though officials are continuing to monitor the situation.
Testing results from East Palestine Municipal Water source have found that their well drinking water is safe to drink. However, the governor advised those with private wells to use bottled water until their well water is confirmed to be safe, “out of an abundance of caution.”
As for the giant smoke plume over the Ohio River, DeWine said he was “happy to report this morning that sampling has shown that the plume is now completely dissipated. It was never thought to be a threat, but they could get slight detections and I want to mention that something I’ve learned during this is the Ohio River is monitored normally very extensively.”
The governor noted the level of concern for butyl acrylate, one of the chemicals from the train derailment, is 560 parts per billion and that the most that was detected was 3 parts per billion.
“Today, it is at zero,” he said.
Fox News’ Jeffrey Clark contributed to this report.