Crude Oil Leaking Into Iowa River After Alberta Train Derails

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

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.

Some officials have speculated that floodwaters eroded soil beneath the train track.

The public's interest in the train derailment is making it extremely hard for clean up and construction crews to get in and out of the area.

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.

Gov. Kim Reynolds visited the derailment site Saturday as part of a tour of areas hit by recent flooding.

A BNSF spokesman said that 14 of the 32 oil cars on the train were leaking oil into the flooded river and that about 100,000 gallons of the spilled oil had been contained. 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.

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

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

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

Metropolitan Utilities District said it was monitoring pumps it uses to pull drinking water from the Missouri.

Rock Valley, Iowa, just southwest of the derailment, shut off its water wells within hours of the accident. He did not know how much had spilled.

Crews spent Saturday containing the spill and building a temporary road to move equipment to the crash site to make it easier to remove the piled-up train cars and advance the cleanup, the Sioux City Journal reported.

The train was carrying tar sands oil from Alberta to Stroud, Okla., for ConocoPhillips. It plans to drain and clean its wells and use a rural water system until testing shows its water is safe.

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