WV train crash impacts local water supplies; cleanup efforts underway

During a snowstorm in West Virginia earlier this week, a train carrying over 100 tankers of crude oil derailed alongside a Kanawha River tributary near the census-designated area of Mount Carbon.

Feb. 19, 2015 -- During a snowstorm in West Virginia earlier this week, a train carrying over 100 tankers of crude oil derailed alongside a Kanawha River tributary near the census-designated area of Mount Carbon.

The train was transporting about 3 million gallons of Bakken crude oil from a North Dakota shale field to a Virginia oil shipping depot when it wrecked, overturning 27 cars -- 19 of which caught fire and leaked the substance in and around the creek.

The incident destroyed one house and also temporarily shut down two local water treatment plants, ultimately leading around 125 residents to evacuate their homes.

Since the accident on Monday, cleanup efforts have begun, and some of the train cars have been re-railed for reuse or removal. Recent reports indicate that one small fire still continues to burn.

Officials have also restored water supply to the region, and emergency response crews have removed about 5,000 gallons of crude oil from the river and around the site where the accident occurred.

West Virginia American Water is encouraging people to boil and conserve their water before consuming or using it as the organization continues to determine how much oil spilled into the river, although recent tests have not detected any traces.

The accident comes on the heels of the Freedom Industries chemical spill that impacted the region last January, where as much as 10,000 gallons of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, a chemical used to clean mining equipment, was released into the environment (see "West Virginia chemical spill shuts down capital city, water supplies").

See also:

"One year later: WV American Water reflects on Freedom Industries chemical spill"

"WV 2014 chemical spill: Report offers analysis of aboveground storage tank registrations"

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