Maine DEP Provides Update on Clean Up Effort Following Train Derailment
April 18, 2023
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued the following update today on the clean-up effort following the derailment of a Canadian Pacific (CPKC) freight train in Somerset County on Saturday, April 15, 2023:
Maine DEP continues to oversee CPKC's effort to clean-up the site of the train derailment in the wake of Saturdays derailment. Seven train cars - including three locomotives and four lumber cars that sustained significant fire damage due to the accident are still present at the site.
While the hazardous materials being transported by the train were removed from the site over the weekend, fuel, hydraulic fluid, and engine oil from the still-present derailed cars is saturating the soil on site and is moving into the nearby Moose River, which feeds into Little Brassua Lake. This is contributing to an oil sheen that is visible from the derailment site to the lake. Maine DEP is working with CPKC to assess how much fuel, hydraulic fluid, and engine oil is present at the site.
CPKCs oil spill response organization is on site, and they, along with Maine DEPs Technical Services and Response Division and Maine DEPs Aquatic Toxicology Unit, are working to remove the oil through the use of sorbent material. Additionally, biologists from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife are surveying the area today to understand and advise on any potential impact to wildlife.
Right now, Maine DEP is focused on working with CPKC to contain and clean up the oil that has spilled into the waterway and to remove the remaining railcars from the site to minimize oil from saturating the soil. The remote, forested nature of the area combined with the spring thaw is making these efforts more challenging because large equipment needs to be brought in to move the remaining railcars from the site. After the site has been cleared of wreckage debris and a comprehensive assessment of environmental damage has been conducted, Maine DEP will require that the oil-contaminated soil be removed.
In addition to members of the Maine DEP's HazMat Response team, who have been working on site in shifts to assess and monitor environmental impacts, representatives from the Maine Forest Service, Maine Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife, and CPKC remain on the scene. The Maine Forest Service and Jackman-Moose River Fire & Rescue Department continue to operate a unified command three miles from the derailment site in Sandwich Academy Grant.
With the focus on debris and environmental clean-up, the Maine DEP will take over from the Maine Forest Service in providing updates moving forward. Maine DEP will work with partner agencies to provide additional updates as the clean-up effort continues.
Previous updates from the Maine Forest Service can be found at https://www.maine.gov/dacf/about/news/index.shtml.
For additional information, contact: David R. Madore, Deputy Commissioner email@example.com