Estimated 230000 Gallons of Oil Spilled in Iowa Train Derailment

Christopher Davidson
June 24, 2018

Williams says crews have been skimming oil from floodwaters.

Andy Williams, the spokesperson for BNSF, says that 14 out of 32 of the derailed train cars spilled the oil into the flood waters.

Almost half the spill - an estimated 100,000 gallons - had been contained with booms near the derailment site and an additional boom placed about 5 miles downstream, Williams said.

Williams says cleanup crews are working to contain the oil as close to the derailment as possible using containment booms, skimmers and vacuum trucks.

The railroad will focus on environmental recovery.

Lyon County Sheriff Steward Vander Stoep said between 30 and 40 semitrailers containing cleanup equipment had arrived at the scene by Friday afternoon. Williams said officials hoped to reach the cars Saturday. Some of the tankers were compromised, causing the oil to leak into floodwaters and eventually into the rain-swollen Little Rock River, but officials didn't have an exact number of tankers that leaked oil by late Friday afternoon, Williams said.

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Officials say they don't know what caused the train to go off the rails, although a local, Jacob Faber, told the Des Moines Register that there was water on the train tracks.

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.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is set to visit the site of an oil train derailment and oil spill in the northwestern corner of the state.

But news of the spill was enough to prompt officials in Rock Valley, a small city about 5 miles (8.05 kilometres) southwest of the derailment, to shut off all the city's drinking water wells.

The train was carrying tar sands oil from Alberta to Stroud, Okla., for ConocoPhillips. ConocoPhillips spokesman Daren Beaudo says each tanker can hold more than 25,000 gallons. The spill reached the Rock River, which joins the Big Sioux River before merging into the Missouri River at Sioux City. It plans to drain and clean its wells and use a rural water system until testing shows its water is safe.

Downriver, Omaha's Metropolitan Utilities District continues to monitor developments in the spill 153 miles to the north. MUD issued a statement noting, "We will continue to monitor and if necessary will shift water pumping away from Florence Plant to our two other treatment plants, that are supplied by Platte River".

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