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Iowa gov to visit site of derailment, oil spill
26 June 2018, 09:42 | Justin Tyler
Crude oil spills into Iowa river after freight train derailment
The river rose rapidly after 13 to 18 cm of rain fell in the days prior to the derailment.
Rock Valley, Iowa, just southwest of the derailment, shut off its water wells within hours of the accident. Olson says Rock Valley's water towers also will be drained as a precaution.
Danger from the spill has been exacerbated by recent rainfall, which has caused the Rock River to overflow its banks along the route of the train tracks.
Olson says the city, with a population of almost 3,400, will use the rural water supply until testing by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources confirms the safety of the city's drinking water. He did not know when that testing would be finalized. Williams had earlier said 33 oil cars had derailed.
Almost half the spill - an estimated 100,000 gallons - had been contained with booms near the derailment site and an additional boom placed about 5 miles downstream, BNSF spokesman Andy Williams said. About 31 cars derailed after the tracks reportedly collapsed due to saturation from flood waters from adjacent Little Rock River.
Beaudo also did not know whether the derailed oil cars were the safer, newer tankers meant to help prevent leaks in the event of an accident. It joins the Rock River a few hundreds yard west, which courses south into the Big Sioux River.
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. Cleanup crews have been dispatched.
Williams says crews have been skimming oil from floodwaters.
Lyon County Sheriff Steward Vander Stoep said between 30 and 40 semitrailers containing cleanup equipment had arrived at the scene near Doon, Iowa, by Friday afternoon. On the one hand, proponents are likely to argue that pipelines are much safer than trains; on the other, opponents will say that either form of transportation is a recipe for this kind of disaster.
The derailment also caused concern downstream, including as far south as Omaha, about 150 miles from the derailment site.
Evacuations have occurred downstream at Rock Valley, where the Rock River is expected to crest later Friday.
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