Saturday, 23 February, 2019

BNSF: Estimated 230,000 gallons of oil spilled in derailment

Major oil spill spreads across Iowa floodwaters forcing evacuations after train derails Sioux County Sheriff’s Office Facebook
Theresa Hayes | 26 June, 2018, 02:48

A 32-car oil train derailed in northwestern Iowa Friday while crossing the flooding Little Rock River near the town of Doon.

While the cause for the derailment has not been officially determined, a disaster proclamation by the state's governor and local officials blamed flooding caused by two days of heavy rain for eroding the soil beneath the railroad tracks.

Tanker cars from a freight train carrying crude oil are shown after a derailment along the Rock River south of Doon, Iowa, this June 22, 2018 handout still image taken from aerial drone video.

Ken Hessenius with the Iowa Natural Resources Department says his crews will try to determine how fast the oil is being carried downstream by the rain-swollen Little Rock River.

Beaudo also did not know whether the derailed oil cars were the safer, newer tankers meant to help prevent leaks in the event of an accident.

BNSF Railroad is asking anyone with damage as a result of that derailment to contact them to get everything cleaned up and repaired.

Lyon County Sheriff Steward Vander Stoep said between 30 and 40 semitrailers containing clean-up equipment had arrived at the scene near Doon, Iowa, by Friday afternoon.

BNSF spokesman Andy Williams confirmed the details Saturday.

A major part of the cleanup work includes building a temporary road parallel to the tracks to allow in cranes that can remove the derailed and partially-submerged oil cars.

The spill threatened to contaminate drinking water for residents about 150 miles (240 km) downstream in Omaha, Nebraska.

Omaha's public water utility - Metropolitan Utilities District - said it was monitoring pumps it uses to pull drinking water from the Missouri River.

The train was carrying tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to Stroud, Oklahoma, for ConocoPhillips.

The community of Rock Valley, Iowa has been especially hard hit, confronted by floodwaters, the train derailment and an unrelated fire in the course of 24 hours. In the meantime, the city is getting its water from the nearby Rock Valley Rural Water system, which Olson said is not in danger of being contaminated by the spill. He did not know how much had spilled.