Category Archives: Soil contamination

CSX Provides Update on W.Va. Oil Train Derailment Cleanup

Repost from ABC News

CSX Provides Update on W.Va. Oil Train Derailment Cleanup

By JOHN RABY Associated Press, Jul 21, 2015, 7:51 PM ET

GLEN FERRIS, W.Va. – CSX is continuing to closely monitor the environmental impact of a fiery oil-train derailment in southern West Virginia, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.The company held a public informational meeting that drew a sparse turnout Tuesday evening at the Glen Ferris Inn.

On Feb. 16, 27 cars of a CSX train’s 109 cars derailed during a snowstorm in Mount Carbon. Twenty of the cars leaked oil, some of which burned or was released into the ground.

Under a March consent order with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the railroad agreed to a long-term plan for cleaning up and restoring the area around the derailment.

“It’s important for the community to know that we said we would be here,” CSX spokeswoman Melanie Cost said. “This is part of that process. We want to keep the open dialogue for them.”

Donna Shabdue lives near the derailment site and was forced to evacuate her home for more than a day. She showed up to the meeting to voice her concerns about local emergency response and pleaded for quickly informing the public about future incidents.

“They need to have a plan,” she said. “We didn’t know what to do. There needs to be a siren somewhere go off to evacuate. We didn’t know what to do. I just want out of there safely.”

The train was carrying 3 million gallons of Bakken crude and headed to Yorktown, Virginia. In recent years, trains hauling crude from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana have been involved in fiery derailments in six states.

The Federal Railroad Administration is investigating the West Virginia accident, which shot fireballs into the sky, burned down a nearby house and caused fires on the ground that smoldered for days.

The cause of the derailment hasn’t been released. Speed had previously been ruled out as a factor. The FRA has said the train was going 33 mph at the time of the crash. The speed limit was 50 mph.

CSX said more than 181,000 gallons of crude oil was recovered after the accident. About 10,000 tons of soil has been removed and shipped for disposal. Additional soil removal is planned next to the Kanawha River and a tributary at the derailment site.

Air, water and soil sampling continues. The water monitoring is at five locations along the river, including a drinking water intake, because of the occasional presence of oil sheens. CSX said the local drinking water supply has been unaffected by the spill.

Oil-absorbing booms were attached to a metal wall more than 410 feet long in the river as an additional containment measure. The wall will eventually be taken down once the sheens are no longer detected, Cost said.

Cost declined to disclose how much the company has spent on the cleanup.

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    Montana county has had 5 derailments in two years

    Repost from The Dickinson Press

    Montana county has had 5 derailments in two years

    By Amy Dalrymple on Jul 20, 2015 at 11:22 p.m.
    An investigator takes photos at the site of a crude oil train derailment on Saturday, July 18 east of Culbertson, Mont. Twenty-two oil tankers derailed, leaking an estimated 35,000 gallons of oil. (FNS Photo by Amy Dalrymple)

    CULBERTSON, Mont. — Five train derailments have occurred in less than two years in the northeastern Montana County where crews continue cleaning up after last week’s oil train derailment.

    In addition to the two train derailments that occurred last week within a 20-mile stretch of Roosevelt County, two railcars also derailed at Culbertson in February, according to the Federal Railroad Administration database, which is updated through April.

    The cause of that incident, which did not cause injuries or release of hazardous material, was attributed to human error, according to information submitted to the FRA.

    The area also had two train derailments in 2014, including the derailment of two Amtrak cars in April of that year in the neighboring community of Bainville.

    Two people were hurt in the derailment, which caused more than $100,000 in damage to Amtrak equipment and nearly $500,000 in damage to the track, the FRA database shows.

    The cause that derailment is listed as “track roadbed settled or soft,” according to information submitted to the FRA.

    The other 2014 incident, which involved one railcar that derailed in December at Culbertson, was attributed to a broken wheel, the FRA database shows.

    The entire state of Montana had 19 train derailments in 2014, the FRA information shows.

    Last Tuesday, nine railcars derailed near Blair, Mont., damaging about 1 mile of track. The cause remains under investigation.

    BNSF Railway inspects the track in that area at least four times per week, spokesman Matt Jones said.

    The FRA and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration continued collecting evidence Monday to investigate the cause of Thursday’s derailment involving 22 oil tankers. Four of the derailed tank cars leaked oil, the FRA said, and spilled an estimated 35,000 gallons of oil.

    The train was not speeding at the time it derailed, an FRA spokesman said. It was traveling 44 miles per hour in a 45-mph zone, the spokesman said.

    BNSF environmental specialists continue to clean up at the site. Oil will be removed from the remaining tank cars in the next several days, and the cars will be removed after that, Jones said.

    Crews are excavating contaminated soil, said Daniel Kenney, enforcement specialist with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, which is monitoring the cleanup. The spill was not reported to have contaminated any water sources and has not threatened human health, Kenney said.

    The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources confirmed Monday that Statoil, the company that owns the oil that was on the train, is in compliance with the state’s oil conditioning order.

    The order, which took effect in April, aims to reduce the volatility of Bakken crude oil.

    Statoil was meeting the order by operating its equipment at specific temperatures and pressures, said Department of Mineral Resources spokeswoman Alison Ritter. Companies also can comply by submitting vapor pressure tests to the state.

    The train with was loaded by Savage Services in Trenton, N.D., and headed to Anacortes, Wash., the FRA said.

    Jeff Hymas, a spokesman for Savage Services, said Monday the railcar inspection protocols at the Trenton terminal are consistent with FRA and BNSF requirements.

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      Ontario derailment: tar-sands crude (diluted bitumen), more pictures

      Repost from  CBC News
      [Editor: New details: carrying tar-sands dilbit; 15 cars released crude oil and seven caught fire; responders letting it burn itself out; oil pooling at the frozen headwaters of a small creek; nearby Mattagami First Nation concerned; expect all trees in the surrounding area to be coated with toxins, some die-off; soil contamination a long range cleanup.  – RS] 

      Gogama oil spill raises concerns about environmental damage

      Cleanup continues at the site of a CN train derailment about 30 km northwest of Gogama, Ont.

      CBC News, Feb 18, 2015 9:27 AM ET, Updated: Feb 18, 2015 11:57 AM ET
      Gogama_derailment_CBC
      Derailed tank cars, Gogama, Ontario. (Transportation Safety Board)

      While investigators continue to search for the cause of a CN train Saturday near Gogama, Ont., the environmental impact is becoming more apparent.

      Black charred oil tankers lie on their sides in snow stained by crude oil.

      CN said the derailed train was carrying diluted bitumen from Alberta to eastern Canada.

      Laurentian University professor Charles Ramcharan says that’s one of the worst things that can be spilled.

      “The trouble is that it’s very toxic, so if you have a spill it causes a lot of damage and because the bitumen is a solid, it stays on the landscape for a very long time.”

      The nearby Mattagami First Nation is also concerned.

      Oil is pooling at the frozen headwaters of a small creek near the site of the derailment.

      Councillor Jennifer Constant said that waterway leads to her community.

      “The impacts may be not immediate, but what are the long-term aspects going to be for people who do utilize the lake and go hunting in the area? They’ve used these lands for time immemorial and they’re worried about the impacts of that,” she said.

      “Their health or practices have the potential to be affected by this.”

      Contamination, die-off

      While CN works with partners to clean up the spill, Ramachran said he worries the incident could fall off the radar because of its remote location.

      “Just because there are no immediate human health concerns, I do worry that this one will kind of fall off the radar.”

      CN says crews are letting a controlled fire burn out at the site.

      Once the dillutants burn off, tar will be left to remove, Ramcharan noted.

      He predicted all trees in the surrounding area will be coated with toxins, leading to some die-off. He said the soil will be contaminated as well.

      A total of 15 cars released crude oil and seven caught fire when the train went off the tracks late Saturday night.

      The Transportation Safety Board is investigating a section of broken rail containing a rail joint and a broken wheel.

      The director with Transport Action Ontario, an organization that advocates for transportation improvements, said some kind of mechanical failure might be to blame.

      “It’s hard to tell,” Dan Hammond said.

      “You know, I would like the investigation to take its course on this one. But things like broken wheels, the industry does not like to see.”

      CN said both the train and the track passed safety inspections shortly before the derailment.

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