MONTGOMERY, W. Va. — The Unified Command for the West Virginia Train Derailment Response announced Sunday at a media briefing that progress continues with restoring the environment and repairing the rail transportation system.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed that a small amount of oil entered the Kanawha River as ice melted and water levels changed Sunday morning. However, ongoing containment strategy and water monitoring has confirmed no impact on drinking water or public safety. Regular monitoring will continue around the clock with oversight from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and West Virginia American Water.
“We are working with our partners in the Unified Command on continuous water monitoring as temperatures rise and river conditions change. At this time we are confident that there has been no impact and the water is safe to drink,” said Dennis Matlock, Federal On-Scene Coordinator, U.S. EPA. “The Unified Command is prepared to deploy additional containment strategies if necessary to supplement the existing booms, sheet piling, barge operations, and product vacuuming operations that are recovering product and limiting further environmental impact.”
Environmental experts also continue air monitoring efforts to ensure levels are safe for the public. Air and water quality reports are available online through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website at: http://www.epaosc.org/site/site_profile.aspx?site_id=9762.
Officials from the Federal Railroad Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration have teams of inspectors on site and are conducting a full-scale investigation into the cause of the Feb. 16 derailment.
Response teams continue pumping operations to remove oil from the derailed tank cars, reporting approximately 152,000 gallons of oil recovered directly from tank cars as of Sunday afternoon. Teams began safely removing empty rail cars on Saturday evening, an operation which continued Sunday. Both pumping and removal operations will continue around the clock pending safe work conditions and weather conditions, until both are complete. Response teams will remove impacted soil and lay a new rail bed in order to rebuild the CSX railroad tracks.
CSX continues to support the needs of Montgomery residents and those affected by the derailment through its community Outreach Center. The CSX Outreach Center will return to the Glen Ferris Inn location beginning Monday, February 23, to compensate residents who evacuated their homes and those who experienced an extended power outage (over 24 hours). The Outreach Center will be open 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Friday.
Residents visiting the center are reminded to bring a form of identification (driver’s license or government ID) and AEP power bill. 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.
Residents who are not able to visit the Outreach Center can request compensation by mailing a letter that includes name, home address (P. O. Boxes not accepted), phone number, social security number and a photocopy of your 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 via 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).