A BNSF freight train traveling from Alberta, Canada to Stroud, Oklahoma derailed in northwest Iowa early Friday morning. Although no injuries were reported, approximately 871,000 litres of crude oil has spilled into the flooded fields surrounding the railroad tracks. 14 of the 32 oil tanker cars that derailed leaked into the Little Rock River.
BNSF spokesperson, Andy Williams, said “We are containing the oil that was spilled as close to the incident as possible using containment booms and recovering it with skimmers and vacuum trucks….ongoing monitoring is occurring for any potential conditions that could impact workers and the community and, so far, have found no levels of concern.””
According to Mr. Williams, around half of the spill has been contained but there are still concerns that the spill could travel as far south as Omaha – which is around 240 kilometers from the derailment site.
Rock Valley, a small city around 8 kilometers from the derailment site, has decided to shut off the city’s drinking water wells and drain the water towers until testing has been completed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and it confirms the safety of the city’s drinking water. Rock Valley public information officer, Travis Olson, stated “I don’t know how long that will be. It sounds like the cleanup is going to take a while.”
Cleanup underway after train from Alberta derails in Iowa, leaking crude oil into floodwaters