MONTGOMERY, W. Va. — The Unified Command for the West Virginia Train Derailment Response continues to make progress restoring the environment and repairing the rail transportation system Monday.
Environmental experts working with the Unified Command continue to monitor the air and water samples to ensure the safety of the community and response teams. Air monitoring techniques include mobile and stationary testing, which provides real-time results and samples that are sent to a lab to be further checked against Environmental Protection Agency-approved threshold levels. The ongoing monitoring tests for compounds found in crude oil, any associated products from the fire, and a spectrum of organic compounds that could impact air quality. The Unified Command has performed more than 20,000 tests in the community with no detections of crude oil component in the air.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is working with the Unified Command, the EPA, the National Guard’s Civil Support Team and CSX to collect water samples for testing. More than 100 samples have been collected near the banks of Armstrong Creek, around the containment zone, near West Virginia American Water’s intake points and at the water plant itself. The testing is being conducted by American Water and a lab contracted by the EPA and there is no reported impact on drinking water or public safety.
“As recovery efforts progress we will continue with the robust air and water monitoring program,” said Dennis Matlock, Federal On-Scene Coordinator. “The Unified Command is committed to ensuring the safety of the community and response teams throughout the restoration process.”
Air and water quality reports are available online through the EPA 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 derailment.
Response teams continue pumping operations to remove oil from the derailed tank cars, reporting approximately 166,000 gallons of oil recovered directly from tank cars as of Monday morning. In addition approximately 36,000 gallons of oily-water mixture have been recovered from containment trenches dug along the river embankment near the derailment site as of Monday morning. The product and oily-water mixture is being transferred to CSX’s nearby Handley Yard. Response teams are following all federal oil-transfer guidelines to ensure safe operations.
At the derailment site, teams continue safely removing empty rail cars. As of Monday afternoon, four rail cars still need to be placed on flatcars for removal. All other rail cars have been positioned for removal. Once 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 returned to the Glen Ferris Inn location beginning Monday, Feb. 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 a.m. – 7 p.m. through Thursday and 8 a.m. – 12 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).