BNSF Swinomish Channel Derailment UNIFIED COMMAND
News Media Update #3
News Media Update #3
SEATTLE (MARCH 18, 2023) -- Clean up crews are wrapping up active cleanup of the diesel spill caused by the March 16 derailment of two BNSF locomotives on the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Reservation near Anacortes, Washington.
In total, crews have removed approximately 2,100 cubic yards of contaminated soil and 4,300 gallons of groundwater from the site. The groundwater contained fewer than 50 gallons of diesel fuel.
Crews will also install a series of groundwater monitoring wells to detect if any residual petroleum product migrates into groundwater at the site as well as a series of “sparging” units to speed the breakdown and removal of any remaining petroleum products from soil.
No diesel has reached the shoreline, and no impacts to fish or wildlife have been observed.
With the conclusion of active cleanup, BNSF will work with the Swinomish Tribe to return the large, disturbed area to its pre-spill condition.
As the responsible party, BNSF will pay all costs associated with the response.
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News Media Update #2
SEATTLE (MARCH 17, 2023) -- Clean up crews have worked around the clock to excavate and remove diesel-contaminated soils from the site of Thursday morning’s locomotive derailing on the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Reservation near Anacortes, Washington.
Thus far, crews have removed over 1,200 cubic yards of soil. Responders have also pumped out 3,000 gallons of contaminated groundwater found while excavating the soil. Crews will install groundwater wells to monitor for any migration of diesel from the spill site.
As a precaution, incident commanders from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington Department of Ecology estimate that up to 2,000 total cubic yards of soil may be removed. BNSF is temporarily storing the contaminated soil until it can all be sent for disposal in a permitted landfill.
No spilled diesel has reached the shoreline, but the area remains boomed as a precaution. There are still no impacts to wildlife.
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News Media Update #1
SEATTLE (MARCH 16, 2023) -- A unified command has formed to address the March 16 train derailment near Anacortes. The command consists of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington Department of Ecology, BNSF Railway, Skagit County Department of Emergency Management, and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community.
Shortly after midnight, a train derailed near the Swinomish Casino along the Padilla Bay waterfront. There were seven cars in the train, including two locomotives, one buffer car, and four tank cars. The two locomotives derailed, one of which spilled fuel to a berm on the land-side of the tracks. The buffer car partially derailed.
Responders arrived on the scene and found diesel on the ground and ongoing discharge from one of the locomotives. As a precautionary measure, cleanup contractors deployed boom to contain any spilled diesel from reaching the water and placed additional boom immediately off-shore. No petroleum sheen has been observed in the water.
Initial estimates were that up to 5,000 gallons of diesel spilled from the locomotive. Our current estimate based on fuel recovery efforts is that a maximum potential of up to 3,100 gallons was spilled. Approximately 600 gallons were recovered from the ground. The remaining fuel and contaminated soil will be removed and taken to a permitted facility. Some fuel remains in the locomotive and will be measured after it is moved to a safe position. Numbers will continue to be refined as the response progresses.
Fuel was removed from the second locomotive that was not leaking. The four tank cars were removed from the scene and a lifting unit is on scene to lift and remove the locomotives.
Multiple drone flights and helicopter overflights by the U.S. Coast Guard have confirmed no impact to water or wildlife. There have been no injuries.
The cause of the incident is unknown at this time. There will be a full investigation once the cleanup is complete.
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