New level of fear as a makeshift dam is breached in East Palestine

Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 10:38 PM EST
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EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WOIO) - A dam designed to prevent toxic water contamination in East Palestine, has failed.

Residents tell 19 News heavy rain has caused Leslie Run Creek to rise, and spill over the makeshift dam, near the derailment sight.

19 News was able to obtain several photos of water from that manmade dam covering the Main Street area of town. Residents fear the contaminated water may seep into homes or businesses - causing another level of fear for those who live in the area.

Eric Cozza tells 19 News he’s frightened to think about what this new threat could mean, “I fear that now the chemical is in the ground, it’s going to leach towards the water ducts, our aquifer for drinking water. I’m concerned that the park is now contaminated. Kids won’t be able to play there or walk through there on their way to school.”

Cozza’s family has already been diagnosed by a doctor with chemical irritation or rashes on their skin, with the overflow of water Cozza says the odor of chemicals is back in the air again, “I have fear, I’ve had fear and now this just put the anxiety over the top.”

One East Palestine resident on social media said he was warned by a work crew in the area to get away from the overflowing dam, and they called it dangerous.

As for Cozza, he says he doesn’t know how much more their community can take, “They made this dam deep enough to pump the water out of the creek. They call them booms, so, it catches the chemicals before it goes further down the creek.”

19 News did reach out to East Palestine Fire and a dispatcher said they have not received even one call about a breach in the dam. We also reached out to Mayor Trent Conaway and are waiting for a callback.