MONTGOMERY, W. Va. — Teams with the West Virginia Train Derailment Response Unified Command restored the tracks and reopened the railway for commerce Thursday afternoon. Rail operations have resumed with caution as workers continue cleanup activities at the site.
All cars impacted by the derailment have been removed from the tracks and relocated to CSX’s Handley Yard where they will be cleaned and purged of any remaining product residue.
At the derailment site, response crews installed a retaining wall approximately 500 feet long between the train tracks and the river. This temporary sheet pile wall will help prevent residual product from migrating into the river through groundwater or surface run-off. The wall will remain in place until state cleanup standards are met.
Response crews will begin removing the excavated soils from the site for proper disposal at a licensed facility in Charleston, West Virginia+. An access road was created from the work area to route 61 so truck traffic will not have to use residential streets to enter and exit the work area.
To date, approximately 97,000 gallons of oily-water mixture have been recovered from containment trenches dug along the river embankment near the derailment site. The mixture will be removed to a disposal/oil recycling facility located in southwestern Pennsylvania. Approximately 54,000 gallons have been taken to the facility so far.
The 172,105 gallons of crude oil recovered from the rail cars and currently being stored at the Handley Yard will be transferred into rail cars for transporting off-site. The transfer is scheduled to begin Thursday, February 26.
Environmental experts working with the Unified Command approved the discontinuation of the community-based air-quality monitoring that has been occurring in the Mt. Carbon area since the derailment incident on Monday, February 16. More than 40,000 air samples drawn in the community adjacent to the derailment site have shown no impact to the air quality from the derailment. Air monitoring will continue in work areas as well as along the site perimeter, to help ensure the safety of the community and the workers who continue restoration efforts.
As cleanup activities continue, the number of emergency response personnel and equipment will begin to scale down.
“I’d like to thank all the first responders and local officials who have helped facilitate this response,” said Dennis Matlock, Federal On-Scene Coordinator. “We will continue to work as a team throughout the cleanup efforts so we can restore the area as quickly and safely as possible.”
Meanwhile, federal investigators from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) remain on site as they continue their investigations into the probable cause of the accident.
CSX will continue to operate its Outreach Center, located at the Glenn Ferris Inn, until 7p.m. Thursday and from 8 a.m. to noon on Friday, to compensate residents who evacuated their homes and those who experienced an extended power outage.
Residents are reminded to bring a form of identification (driver’s license or government ID) and AEP power bill to the Outreach Center. Residents are encouraged to bring any receipts documenting evacuation-related expenses. Households that experienced extended power outages must have the person whose name is on the bill present in order to receive compensation. If possible, only one household representative should come to check in at the Outreach Center.
The Outreach Center will close permanently at noon tomorrow, Friday, February 27. Any resident not able to visit the center before noon on Friday can request compensation by mailing a letter that includes name, home address (P.O. Boxes are not accepted), phone number, social security number and a photocopy of his/her driver’s license to the following address:
Attention: Mount Carbon Accident Response Team
935 7th Avenue
Huntington, WV 25701
CSX will respond with an information package including further instructions, how to provide additional wage information and paperwork for itemizing damages. Compensation through mail usually takes approximately 4-6 weeks.
Residents with questions who cannot reach the Outreach Center may contact 1-877-TellCSX (1-877-835-5279).