Railroad unloading oil from cars after Iowa derailment

Railroad unloading oil from cars after Iowa derailment

Kenneth Drake
June 26, 2018

Roughly 100,000 gallons (378,530 liters) has been contained with booms in a low-lying area filled with floodwaters near the derailment.

Officials say 230,000 gallons spilled.

Rock Valley, a small city just to the southwest of Doon where more than 30 oil tanker cars derailed into floodwaters, has shut off all its drinking water wells.

Olson says Rock Valley's water towers also will be drained as a precaution.

Tank cars carrying crude oil are shown derailed in Lyon County, Iowa, Friday. In the meantime, the city is getting its water from the nearby Rock Valley Rural Water system, which Olson said is not in danger of being contaminated by the spill. He said Saturday that the cause of the derailment hasn't been determined.

"Our first major concerns are public water supplies", he said, adding that several towns that draw water from shallow wells near the Rock River have been alerted about possible contamination.

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According to the Associated Press, officials at the scene believed that the floodwaters were a factor in the derailment, but were unsure whether high water pushed cars off the track, damaged the track in some way, or played some other role.

Railroad crews have also built a 1/8 mile gravel road out to the cars to clean up the mess.

Some officials have speculated that floodwaters eroded soil beneath the train track. Williams said officials hoped to reach the cars by sometime Saturday afternoon. The Little Rock River rose rapidly after heavy rain Wednesday and Thursday. Cleanup crews were dispatched to the site.

Most people have been allowed back into their homes in Rock Valley, Iowa community after they were evacuated because of flooding. It joins the Rock River a few hundreds yard west, which courses south into the Big Sioux River.

The National Weather Service says the Rock River is expected to crest later Friday about a foot below the 2014 record of almost 23 feet (7 meters), when several Rock Valley homes were damaged by the floodwater. The Rock River, which is usually about 100 yards wide (about 91 m), is now about half a mile (804 m) wide, according to Iowa Natural Resources Department spokesman Ken Hessenius.