Press Release

Train derailment and spill in Ohio underscore the need for wide-spread, long-term water monitoring


The recent tanker train derailment and discharge of dangerous vinyl chloride in East Palestine, Ohio, reminds us of the daily threats to the environment, our drinking water and public health. In the immediate aftermath of this event and in the months ahead, the Izaak Walton League of America proposes these steps to address the spill and related threats to our health and environment.

Federal and state agencies must continuously monitor water quality in the affected area. It’s a false narrative to suggest the danger is passed because chemicals are no longer leaking from tanker cars. Those chemicals are in the soil, in the sediment of local streams and will leach into surface and ground water for weeks, months, even years to come. Continuous monitoring and direct communication with the residents of East Palestine about the results of that monitoring are imperative.

Long-term monitoring is also essential, and volunteers like those trained by the League can play an important role in that on-going assessment. Monitoring based on sampling stream life, using Save Our Streams, for example, can be especially effective because this method comprehensively assesses the biological health of streams, and doesn’t depend simply on detecting the presence of a certain chemical.

This incident painfully demonstrates the interconnected nature of our waters. Pollutants discharged – purposefully or accidentally – into small streams invariably flow to larger rivers, lakes and drinking water reservoirs. That’s why it is vitally important that small streams – even those that may not flow all year long – remain protected by the Clean Water Act. This only reaffirms the League’s commitment to fight efforts in Congress and federal courts to undermine these protections.

For information about the Izaak Walton League's clean water programs, visit

Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League of America is one of the most effective conservation organization in the US with a long legacy of pioneering achievements in policy and law affecting clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat, agriculture and outdoor recreation.  


Michael Reinemer, Communications Director,, 301-548-0150, ext. 220

    • Conservation
    • Clean Water Act
    • Water pollution

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