Skip to main content

EPA responds to Galena train derailment

Published by
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The US Environmental Protection Agency is responding to the derailment of a BNSF freight train that occurred near Galena, Illinois. On 5 March, 21 cars of a 105 car BNSF train, which originated in North Dakota, derailed approximately 3 miles outside Galena. Five of the 103 cars carrying Bakken crude oil caught fire, sending black smoke and fireballs over the area.

The EPA is conducting air monitoring, taking water samples, assessing environmental damage and setting up booms to protect nearby waterways from oil leaking from the rail cars. So far, air monitors have detected airborne particles typically associated with fires but no chemicals.

?The EPA has established a command post near the scene of the incident and is serving as the Federal On Scene Coordinator for federal agencies involved in the emergency response and coordinating work with state and local agencies.

BNSF Railway released the following statement on 7 March:

“Work to remove the derailed cars at the site of the BNSF Railway derailment, which occurred in a rural area south of Galena, Illinois, is nearing completion. Due to its remote location and soft ground in the area, a temporary road is being built to allow heavy equipment to rerail cars and remove crude oil from the scene. Additionally, the three small remaining fires will be extinguished by a foam truck once the temporary road is complete. Of the 21 cars that were derailed, six cars have been rerailed. Two more cars are expected to be rerailed later today. The remaining cars will be removed from the scene via truck.

Once the scene is cleared, BNSF currently anticipates that its mainline track can be operational on Monday, 9 March 2015. As the clean up process proceeds, BNSF continues to find no evidence of oil in the nearby waterways due to the derailment. Air quality monitoring is also continuing.

The cause of the derailment is still under investigation. BNSF Railway employees continue to assist local and federal officials. Protection of the communities we serve, the safety of our employees and protection of the environment are our highest priorities. These priorities have guided us throughout our response to this event.

We are extremely grateful for the efforts of the first responders at this incident and the coordination and cooperation offered by local officials to keep the community safe. BNSF Railway sincerely regrets the inconvenience this event has caused to the community.

BNSF has established a claims centre at the site of the incident to help and assist local residents who may have incurred damage to their property or are in need of temporary relocation. With the scene mostly contained, BNSF does not anticipate the need to offer any additional updates.”

Updates on the EPA response can be found here.

Edited from various sources by Rosalie Starling

Read the article online at:


Embed article link: (copy the HTML code below):