Tanker cars carrying Alberta crude oil are shown derailed in Lyon County, Iowa, Friday. (Photo Sioux City Journal via AP)
Train carrying tanker cars of tar sands oil from Alberta to Oklahoma derails along flooded Iowa river
A train derailment has spilled an estimated 230,000 gallons of Alberta crude oil into the floodwaters of the Rock River, in Iowa, resulting in a disaster declaration from the governor and a massive clean-up operation.
The train derailed around 4:30am Friday, near Doon, in Lyon County. There were no injuries.
Oil spilled into the river after 32 tanker cars derailed. The train’s operator BNSF said 14 of the derailed cars had leaked oil, according to Lyon County Daily News.
The derailment forced evacuations of nearby homes and raised concerns about drinking water contamination. Rock Valley, a small city just to the southwest of Doon shut off all its drinking water wells.
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.
Crews work to clean up the BNSF railway after a 32-car derailment along banks of the Rock River south of Doon, Iowa.
BNSF spokesman Andy Williams said the cleanup and recovery were still in the early stages.
A disaster proclamation issued by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds for Lyon and three other counties in response to the train derailment placed the blame on rain-fueled flooding.
The nearby Little Rock River rose rapidly after heavy rain Wednesday and Thursday. The Little Rock River flows into the Rock River which caused overflow on its banks along the route of the train tracks.
Some officials have speculated that floodwaters eroded soil beneath the train track. The cause has not been confirmed.
According to The Associated Press, the train was carrying tar sands oil from Alberta, to Stroud, Oklahoma, for ConocoPhillips. ConocoPhillips spokesman Daren Beaudo said each tanker can hold more than 25,000 gallons (20,817 imperial gallons) of oil.
CTV News is reporting almost half of the oil spill – an estimated 100,000 gallons (378,530 liters) – has been contained at the site using booms close to the derailment site. An additional boom has been placed about five miles (8.05 kilometers) downstream.
BNSF did not respond to questions on Sunday about the progress of the cleanup.
The Sioux County Sheriff posted a video depicting the aftermath of the derailment near Doon on Facebook: