Railroad unloading oil from cars after Iowa derailment

26 June 2018, 02:47 | Shawn Tate

Sioux County Sheriff’s Office Facebook

Major oil spill spreads across Iowa floodwaters forcing evacuations after train derails

Workers have contained almost half of the crude oil spilled near Rock River in northwest Iowa over the weekend following a freight train derailment on Friday, BNSF Railway Co said.

One or more of 31 tanker cars on the derailed train is leaking into floodwaters surrounding the tracks near Doon, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) southeast of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Drone footage released by authorities in Iowa shows oil spreading across flooded fields following a devastating train derailment. The Little Rock River rose rapidly after heavy rain Wednesday and Thursday.

BNSF railroad spokesman Andy Williams says workers have unloaded oil from 10 of the oil tank cars that didn't leak after Friday's derailment. Williams says some of the tankers were compromised, causing the oil to leak into floodwaters and eventually into the rain-swollen Little Rock River, but officials don't yet have an exact number of tankers that leaked oil.

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.

BNSF had hazardous materials and environmental experts on the scene and had begun cleanup within hours of the derailment, Williams said.

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Williams says oil will be removed from that containment site with equipment to separate the oil from the water. Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep (VAN'-dur stoop) in neighboring Lyon County says the train derailed between 5 and 5:30 a.m. Friday just south of Doon.

"We are working as quickly as we can to get this cleaned up", Williams said Saturday. The train was carrying oilsands from Alberta, Canada, to Stroud, Oklahoma, for ConocoPhillips.

The derailment of 32 oil tanker cars Friday just south of Doon has caused concern for towns and cities downstream, as far south as Omaha, Nebraska, about 150 miles from the derailment site. ConocoPhillips spokesman Daren Beaudo said each tanker can hold more than 25,000 gallons (20,817 imperial gallons) of oil.

Cities downstream from the spill are monitoring their water systems.

The service has issued flood warnings for several other rivers and creeks in the area, including the Big and Little Sioux rivers, the Floyd River and the Ocheyedan River near Spencer.

Metropolitan Utilities District, which provides the Omaha metro area's drinking water, said it was monitoring the spill.



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