US EPA Requires CSX to Clean-Up WV Train Wreck Contamination

by Duane Nichols on March 7, 2015

WV Derailment, Explosion, Fire; One of Many

CSX Ordered to Clean-up the Areas Impacted by WV Train Derailment

Press Release, US EPA (David Sternberg), March 6, 2015

Philadelphia, PA - CSX has agreed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to clean up and restore the areas affected by the February 16 train derailment in Mount Carbon, W. Va. Twenty-seven cars derailed from the 109-car CSX train carrying more than three million gallons of crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota. The derailment resulted in an explosion, fires, loss of a house and required nearby residents to evacuate.

The settlement signed by CSX and EPA was filed on March 3 and replaces EPA’s order for cleanup and restoration issued last week on February 27. Within the next 21 days, CSX has agreed to submit a comprehensive long-term plan for cleaning up and restoring areas impacted by the derailment.

CSX has committed significant resources to respond to the derailment and has worked closely with the Unified Command at the scene. Under the agreement CSX will continue the shorter-term cleanup efforts that are already underway. This includes air and water monitoring and testing; recovering oil from Armstrong Creek, the Kanawha River and their tributaries and shorelines; and educating residents about the potential effects from the incident including potential health threats, protective measures, wildlife preservation, and claims and notification procedures.

“The agreement between CSX and EPA provides a framework within which CSX can work, with oversight from EPA and West Virginia, to ensure that oil contamination from the derailment in Mount Carbon continues to be safely contained and that long lasting impacts are mitigated to protect human health and the environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin.

EPA and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection have worked closely together to ensure proper cleanup and minimize any immediate or lasting environmental impacts.

The initial emergency response was conducted under a Unified Command with federal, state and local agencies and CSX responding. The response was conducted during and affected by harsh winter weather conditions. The residents were able to return to their homes in six days after being evacuated. Clearance for their return was based on verification from consistent monitoring and testing of air, drinking water and surface water. The roadway and the railroad track are now open.

The agreement is available here:


National Public Radio Report (Listen to the Interview)

Crude Oil Volatility Excessive in WV Unit Train Derailment, Explosions & Fires

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: Dangerously high levels of combustible gas – that’s what tests show about the crude oil in the freight train that derailed in West Virginia late last month. Dozens of train cars burst into flame and exploded into huge fireballs. No one was killed, but 200 people from nearby towns were forced to flee their homes. The fire burned for more than three days. The train was carrying crude from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields and Russell Gold, who covers energy for The Wall Street Journal, has seen a lab report analyzing that oil. He joins me now – welcome to the program.

BLOCK: Russell Gold, what does that lab report show?

GOLD: Well, the lab report, which was a test of the crude oil in North Dakota, showed that it had a vapor pressure of about 13.9 pounds per square inch, which is very, very high for oil. Most oils or average oil might be somewhere around six pounds per square inch. That’s actually above – a new state rule says you can’t ship oil if it’s above 13.7.

So when North Dakota adopted this rule right at the end of last year, there were a lot of people that said we’re glad you’re regulating this, but it’s very high. Can’t you make it lower? And what’s really remarkable is that the oil in the train that derailed in West Virginia was even higher than that standard.


Oil cars catch fire as freight train derails in Illinois

From an Article of the Quad City Times, March 5, 2015

Galena, Illinois — At least two oil tank cars continued to burn late Thursday after they derailed in a rural area about 3½ miles south of this Jo Daviess County community of 3,429, a spokesman for the railroad said.

Andy Williams, public affairs director for Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, said five cars from the 105-car train derailed about 1:05 p.m. Of the 105 cars, he said, 103 were filled with Bakken crude oil, while two cars at each end of the train were filled with sand as buffers.

Of the five that landed on their side, two ignited, Williams said.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

SkyLark 3/7/15 March 7, 2015 at 6:22 pm

UPDATE 3-Canadian Nat’l crude oil train derailed in Ontario, fire reported

By Jeffrey Hodgson, Reuters News Service, March 7, 2015

Ontario, Canada – A Canadian National Railway Co train carrying crude oil has derailed near the Northern Ontario community of Gogama, with the crew reporting a fire but no injuries, the company said on Saturday.

A preliminary assessment indicated a bridge over a waterway had been damaged and a number of tank cars were in the waterway after the derailment, Canadian National’s second in the region in just three days and third in less than a month.

Local media said the derailment had forced the closure of a nearby highway and photos showing clouds of black smoke were posted online.

The railway did not immediately say which type of crude oil the train was carrying, but noted the tank cars were the newer Casualty Prevention Circular 1232 model, which are widely regarded as better protected against damage than older types.

Regulators and operators have criticized earlier DOT-111 cars for being prone to puncture. The CPC 1232′s new safety specifications include a thicker tank, top-fitting protection and a pressure relief system.

The incident comes after another derailment on March 5 blocked Canadian National’s main line in northern Ontario.

CN said the latest derailment happened two miles (3.2 km northwest of Gogama, which is some 600 km north of Toronto. It occurred just before 3 a.m. ET/0800 GMT on Saturday and is affecting rail traffic running between Toronto and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The railway said both westbound and eastbound traffic on the line was obstructed and could be delayed by 24 hours or more.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said it was deploying a team of investigators and noted the accident was about 37 km from the site of a February 14 accident involving a CN crude oil train.

A boom in oil shipments by rail and a spate of derailments across North America have put heightened focus on rail safety. The U.S. Department of Transportation said in February derailments involving crude oil and ethanol in the United States would cost more than $18 billion over the next 20 years.

See also:


Vera Scroggins March 7, 2015 at 8:19 pm

Look at all this damage and exposure to contaminants ; exposure to humans and the environment and waterways; how to restore all this?

We must rally for a moratorium on oil freight trains…period….!!!!


A P Mama March 8, 2015 at 9:53 am

I am very happy that CSX has responded so well to this accident, but it shows that we are not prepared to handle our fossil fuels here. I believe we should halt all development until we can make sure it is done correctly. This means stricter regulations and stronger enforcement, hiring new inspectors, which means upping the budget, creating new laws to make sure the infrastructure stays up to date, and making companies do their share to internalize and pay for the true costs associated with doing this type of business.

It is nice and everything to clean up after yourself, but a mess of this magnitude cannot just be cleaned up. As you can see from the list of things they have to do to try to recover, it would be much better for the environment if this accident had not occurred.

Furthermore, no matter how hard they work to “clean it up,” it will never be as it was before. You cannot remove all that oil, and you cannot undo the damage that has been done to the atmosphere. And this is just one of many accidents that has happened and will happen to us if we keep on running this highly flammable, highly toxic substance over rails that are 100 years old.

Pipelines may be a better way, but they are not without risk to the environment, either.

Anyone who thinks he/she is not an environmentalist, try living without clean air and water. Just try it. Living without fossil fuel energy, what happens? Oh, no, we might have to start conserving and shift over the renewables, but at least we will have water to drink and air to breathe. We have to stop this madness now. We are running out of time.


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