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CSX Livingston Derailment

Site Contact:
Matthew Huyser


Site Location:
Rail Milepost 00C138.84
Livingston, KY 40445
NRC#: 1384928

The most up-to-date information can be found at the following online resources:

Air Monitoring Summary Reports are available in the documents section of this webpage and are linked below

  EPA and KYDEP     CSX   

Additional reports are in the documents section

Background and EPA Response

On November 22 at approximately 2:30pm CSX reported a train derailment near Livingston, Rockcastle County, Kentucky. At the time of the report, thirteen rail cars were believed to have been derailed including tank cars of molten sulfur, at least one of which breached. Three tank cars containing magnesium hydroxide and one empty tank car that previously held methanol also derailed. The remaining derailed cars are reported to not contain hazardous substances. The terrain was found to be very challenging, slowing  response and information-gathering.

The derailment is adjacent to the Roundstone Creek, which is a tributary of the Rockcastle River and the Cumberland River. The segment of Roundstone Creek near the derailment is currently a dry bed but may change with rain. The City of Livingston is just outside of the one-mile buffer of the derailment. No drinking water intakes were identified within twenty miles of the derailment site.

Local Emergency Management, Fire, and Police responded followed by CSX HAZMAT resources, Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection (KYDEP) Emergency Response, and Kentucky Emergency Management.  A Region 4 Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) mobilized to join Unified Command.

Part of the spilled sulfur caught on fire resulting in a release of sulfur dioxide (SO2). Local officials issued a voluntary evacuation for residents downwind of the of the derailment site due to reports of sulfur like odors, burning eyes and throats. The evacuation area was increased when air monitoring detected SO2 in public areas excess of the EPA’s Acute Exposure Guideline Levels (AEGL). Unified Command engaged the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Emergency Response Program to provide public health information guidance.

Firefighting activities led by CSX on the morning of November 23 were successful and no SO2 detections were reported in Livingston after 0700 hours. No SO2 detections were reported at the derailment after the fire was extinguished. Local officials lifted the evacuation on the afternoon of November 23 and made the announcement at a press briefing that afternoon.

EPA was integrated in Unified Command, conducting oversight of operations and reviewing operational plans for the response. EPA demobilized on 11/27; KYDEP will continue oversight of car scrapping and waste disposal activities.


Further Information