The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered CSX to clean up and restore the areas affected by last month's oil train derailment in Mt. Carbon, West Virginia.
The 109-car train was carrying more than three million gallons of crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota on February 16 when 27 cars came off the rails. The accident resulted in an explosion, fires and loss of a house. Nearby residents had to evacuate the area and were not allowed to return to their homes for six days.
Under the EPA order, which was issued on Friday, CSX must develop and submit a comprehensive plan for all the areas impacted by the derailment, including proposals for short-term and long-term clean-up and restoration.
The rail company has also been told to:
o Continue monitoring and testing of air and water quality;
o Contain and recover oil on Armstrong Creek, the Kanawha River and their tributaries and adjoining shorelines;
o Regularly inspect the boom located along the river to capture the residual oily water as ice continues to melt;
o Maintain the integrity of the metal sheet pile wall that creates a barrier between the rail line and the Kanawha River to allow the recovery of oil to continue;
o Educate local residents about the potential effects from the incident including potential health threats, protective measures and wildlife preservation, as well as claims and notification procedures;
o Conduct long-term monitoring of Armstrong Creek, the Kanawha River and their adjoining shorelines to detect oil that may be discharged from area facilities; and
o Conduct long-term monitoring for air quality and testing for ground water, surface water and shorelines to ensure that the clean-up and restoration remain effective.
The company is also expected to update the EPA and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection on its progress and respond immediately if another threat to public health or welfare occurs while implementing the order.
The EPA said that CSX has committed significant resources to respond to the derailment and has worked closely with the Unified Command at the scene.
Rail operations through the area have now resumed.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection reported on Saturday that response crews were continuing to remove excavated soils from the site for disposal at a licensed facility in Charleston, West Virginia.
Additionally, approximately 102,000 gallons of oily-water mixture have so far been recovered from containment trenches dug along the river embankment near the derailment site. The mixture will be taken to a disposal/oil recycling facility located in southwestern Pennsylvania.