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Galena Train Derailment Clean-Up Could Take Weeks


Clean-up of an oil train derailment continues in Illinois' far northwestern corner.  A BNSF train passing through Galena derailed March 5.

Brad Benning, an on-scene coordinator for the federal Environmental Protection Agency, says that crews are still in the process of removing damaged tank cars from the accident scene.

Vacuum trucks are sucking up crude oil from inside the tanks. The tanks are being moved to a nearby staging area to either clean or scrap. 

Benning says the area under the tracks also has been scraped clean of oil.

He says the track has re-opened, but remediation continues where the oil spilled into the ground.

"You've got soil, which is right now very muddy and wet, mixed in with oil. You've got this kind of a muck on the ground."

Credit EPA
EPA on-scene coordinators inspect the site of the oil train derailment near Galena, Ill.

He estimates there will be some kind of activity for the next several weeks.

"They'll clean more, sample again, and keeps that process going until the sample shows they are not finding anything."

The cost of clean-up falls to BNSF.

Jenna Dooley has spent her professional career in public radio. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois - Springfield. She returned to Northern Public Radio in DeKalb after several years hosting Morning Edition at WUIS-FM in Springfield. She is a former "Newsfinder of the Year" from the Illinois Associated Press and recipient of NIU's Donald R. Grubb Journalism Alumni Award. She is an active member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and an adjunct instructor at NIU.
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