In the hours following the derailment, firefighters focused on accessing the derailment site to assess the damage to tanker cars, other freight cars, and rail infrastructure. Crews also confirmed the release to the environment. Un-impacted railcars and tankers were removed from the railway to the north and south of the derailment area to establish an access route.
2.1.2 Response Actions to Date
Refer to Pol Rep #2 for previous operations information.
The derailment site has been mostly cleared of damaged railcars. One auto transport car remains on the toe of the ballast and will be removed at a later date still yet to be determined.
Sampling was conducted in the spill area to understand the extent of contaminated ballast and soils. The ballast was replaced and train tracks were repaired early morning on 11/10, trains were running by 0300 on 11/10 . BNSF contractors delineated the spill radius using a PID and laboratory samples analyzed for BTEX, VOC's, and ethanol. A center point was established in the spill zone and points were collected horizontally and vertically from the central point. The spill area was delineated vertically to a maximum of 5.5 feet bgs and horizontally to a maximum of 20 feet from the center point. The maximum field screen reading for VOC was 351 ppm at the surface and 319 ppm at 5 feet bgs, this reading was taken on the eastern side near the center of the spill area. START collected spilt samples for the EPA and are awaiting the results.
Pinnacle engineering and START are continuing water monitoring activities. Additional sample points were added by Pinnacle to create a smaller zone to track possible impacts from the spill more accurately. Silt fence was installed along the western and eastern slopes of the spill area in order to prevent sediment washout from the anticipated rain event to occur mid morning of 11/11.
At the request of the EPA, Pinnacle set up two 24-hour ISCO samplers at 1600 on 11/11 to document ethanol leaving the source area during the rain event which began at 1800 on 11/11. These samplers took a sample every hour for 24 hours. Two YSI meters were also set up to data log water quality during the rain event.
The ISCO samplers that were set up did not collect samples during the rain event. The consultants stated that the one sampler failed due to a calibration issue and the other failed due to being struck by railroad debris which affected the sampling system of the ISCO. The YSI meter data was also lost due to a data logging issue. Grab samples, however were collected following the precipitation event.
BNSF and their contractors were continuing work on silt fence and boom, due to ethanol being miscible in water, the secondary-protection siltation boom needed to have a curtain that touches the bottom to have a full barrier from any runoff. Railroad debris (Track, ties, ballast) and contaminated soil remain as points of concern for the EPA, US FWS, and WDNR.
2.1.3 Enforcement Activities, Identity of Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs)
BNSF Railway was issued a Notice of Federal Interest by OSC Maguire on 11/7/2015. BNSF Railway has accepted responsibility for the release and is responding in coordination with federal, state and local response agencies.
2.1.4 Progress Metrics
Cumulative totals (to date) are found in the table below.
|Denatured alcohol (ethanol) product