Oil train derails in Iowa, spilling crude into the river

Train Derailment

Train Derailment

Cleanup is underway in Iowa, where a train derailment has spilled almost 900,000 litres of crude oil from Alberta into the rain-swollen Rock River.

Governor Adam Gregg listen to flood victims while visiting the northwest Iowa flood regions and the BNSF train derailment.

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.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is set to visit the site of an oil train derailment and oil spill in the northwestern corner of the state.

BNSF railroad spokesman Andy Williams said workers have unloaded oil from 10 of the oil tank cars that didn't leak after Friday's derailment about 15 miles south of the Minnesota border.

The oil spilled into the swollen Little Rock River in Lyon County when 32 oil tanker cars derailed Friday.

"We are working as quickly as we can to get this cleaned up", Williams said Saturday.




The train was carrying tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to Stroud, Oklahoma, for ConocoPhillips.

The derailment also caused concern downstream, including as far south as Omaha, Nebraska, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) from the derailment site. ConocoPhillips spokesman Daren Beaudo said each tanker can hold more than 25 000 gal. of oil. The city of Rock Valley, Iowa, has already shut down its water wells and plans to drain and clean them until testing indicates the water is safe to drink.

Lyon County Sheriff Steward Vander Stoep said between 30 and 40 semitrailers containing clean-up equipment had arrived at the scene near Doon, Iowa, by Friday afternoon.

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

It's also unclear how many cars derailed and what caused the derailment.

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.

The city, with a population of almost 3,400, will stay on the rural water system until testing by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources confirms the safety of the city's drinking water, Olson said.

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