CPR Train Derailment

All POL/SITREP's for this site CPR Train Derailment
Balltown, IA - EPA Region VII
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CPR Train Derailment - Removal Polrep
Final Removal Polrep

EPA Emergency Response

Region VII

Subject: POLREP #9
CPR Train Derailment

Balltown, IA
Latitude: 42.6618336 Longitude: -90.8493948

From: Eric Nold, OSC
Date: 10/15/2015
Reporting Period: 2/13/15 through 12/17/15

1. Introduction
  1.1 Background
Site Number:      Contract Number:  
D.O. Number:      Action Memo Date:  
Response Authority: OPA    Response Type: Emergency
Response Lead: EPA    Incident Category: Removal Action
NPL Status: Non NPL    Operable Unit:
Mobilization Date: 2/5/2015    Start Date: 2/5/2015
Demob Date: 7/16/2015    Completion Date: 7/16/2015
ERNS No.:    State Notification: 020415-CSG-1206
FPN#: E15703    Reimbursable Account #:

1.1.1 Incident Category
OPA Emergency Response

1.1.2 Site Description

Canadian Pacific Railroad train derailment of denatured (3-5% natural gasoline and/or gasoline) ethanol into the Mississippi River.  This portion of the rail line is along a steep and remote river bluff.  Access was difficult. Location
Right descending bank of the Mississippi River, 10 miles north of Dubuque, Iowa near Balltown, Iowa. Description of Threat
Approximately 55,000 gallons of denatured  (3-5% natural gasoline and/or gasoline) ethanol were lost, much discharging to the Mississippi River.  New estimate of gallons lost based on mass balance as of 2/12/15 is 53,785 gallons.  This quantitiy represents ethanol that may have entered the river, permeated the soil, froze on the ice, and was burned in the fire.  The quantity that actually discharged to the river is unknown.

1.1.3 Preliminary Removal Assessment/Removal Site Inspection Results
Final closure report from the PRP for the entire project received December 15, 3015 and includes all assessment reports for air, water, and soil.

2. Current Activities
  2.1 Operations Section
    2.1.1 Narrative

At 1120 hours Central Time (CT), Wednesday, 2/4/15, a southbound Canadian Pacific freight train derailed 15 railcars on the right descending bank of the Mississippi River 10 miles north of Dubuque, Iowa near Baltown, Iowa.  One buffer car contained sand and 14 cars contained denatured ethanol.  Of the 14 cars containing product, 8 were determined to be compromised and leaking.  Of those 8, three were involved in the fire and three were partially in the river.  Initial reports indicated approximately 20,000-30,000 gallons (later revised to 53,785) of denatured (3-5% natural gasoline) ethanol were discharged impacting the Mississippi River.  Local, State, and Federal resources responded and coordinated the remaining response efforts with the responsible party.

As of 2/12/15, the estimate of denatured ethanol not recovered during transloading operations was revised to approximately 53,785 gallons.

The range of the Higgin’s Eye and Sheep Nose endangered mussels extends into the area and Unified Command are aware of the possibility of mussel beds nearby.

2.1.2 Response Actions to Date

2/13/15 through 7/16/15:

  • After the emergency phase of the response and EPA demobilized, IDNR remained as the lead to continue over site of the PRP's remediation activities through closure.
  • Monitoring and sampling stopped on 2/18/15 with confirmation sampling of surface water on 4/21/15.
  • All aeration activities stopped by 2/25/15
  • Vaccuming of ethanol impacted slush on top of the ice in the creek was completed as of 2/14/15.
  • Soil remediation was conducted on 2/17-18/15.
  • Site restoration activities were completed by 7/16/15.

2.1.3 Enforcement Activities, Identity of Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs)

The RP has been identified as Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR).

2.1.4 Progress Metrics

Waste Stream Medium Quantity Manifest # Treatment Disposal
denatured ethanol   ~55,000 gallons discharged      
transloaded denatured ethanol   ~308,200 gallons recovered     N/A
debris (gravel 480 tons, soil 144 tons, RR ties 9 tons)    633 tons     Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Landfill, Dubuque, Iowa
 denatured ethanol impacted water    10,800 gallons    solidification  Scott County Landfill, Davenport, Iowa

  2.2 Planning Section
    2.2.1 Anticipated Activities

An extended mussel survey and study was conducted to determine the impact of the derailment and spill on the ecosystem.  A final report for the mussel study was prepared in June 2015 concluding that there was no significant impact to the endangered species in the area. Planned Response Activities

The final closure report was received by EPA on December 15, 2015 and there are no further activities anticipated for this response. Next Steps
2.2.2 Issues

  2.3 Logistics Section
    No information available at this time.

  2.4 Finance Section
    No information available at this time.

  2.5 Other Command Staff

2.5.1 Safety Officer

2.5.2 Liaison Officer

2.5.3 Information Officer

3. Participating Entities
  3.1 Unified Command
The local Fire Department (Sherrill, Iowa) stood up the initial Incident/Unified Command.  IDNR has assumed that role through closure once the threat of fire and explosion was gone and the FD was no longer on the scene.

3.2 Cooperating Agencies
EPA Region 5
IDNR and IDNR Fish and Wildlife
Illinois EPA
Sherrill Fire Department
Dubuque Hazmat
Dubuque Emergency Management Agency

4. Personnel On Site
  IDNR's Chris Gelner remained on scene overseeing all CPR activities through closure.

5. Definition of Terms
  No information available at this time.

6. Additional sources of information
  6.1 Internet location of additional information/report
CPR contractor has established an FTP site where all pertinent documents they generate can be accessed by all responding agencies.

6.2 Reporting Schedule
This is the final PolRep.  A summary of all information can be found in the PRP's Final Closure Report submitted to EPA on 12/15/15.

7. Situational Reference Materials
  No information available at this time.