EPA media spokesman Bill Dunbar released the following updates this morning on the cleanup of diesel and ongoing work resulting from the January 1 Burlington Northern Santa Fe train derailment in Boundary County approximately three miles west of the Montana State line. 

  • BNSF contracted divers to empty the fuel tank and the oil from the crank case of the locomotive in the river; Both efforts produced only river water, no oil.
  • BNSF is developing an estimate of the significant volume of diesel absorbed in absorbent boom and pads, and estimates skimmers have captured an additional approximately 180 gallons of diesel from areas with containment boom.
  • Contractors conducted a thorough survey of all shorelines not accessible by boat and found two small collections of oil, both of which were immediately removed.
  • EPA has concluded its response to the emergency as there is no longer a threat of release of petroleum products or other hazardous substances to the Kootenai River.
  • Water quality monitoring and other work to protect public health and the environment of the area in the aftermath of the derailment is being conducted by Idaho DEQ, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, and Boundary County in coordination with BNSF and other local, state and federal agencies.

The following update was posted on the EPA Region 10 Facebook page at 9 a.m. Wednesday, January 8: 

EPA Region 10 Emergency Response staff, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Boundary County Emergency Management, PIO and BNSF Railway are working with the Kootenai Tribe, City of Bonners Ferry and other federal, state and local agencies to protect the Kootenai River from environmental impacts following the BNSF Railway train derailment near Katka, Idaho on January 1.

BNSF contractors have removed fuel from the locomotive on the river bank and placed over 6,000 feet of boom downstream to protect sensitive fish and wildlife habitat and near Bonners Ferry.

Divers have begun efforts to offload the remaining diesel and other petroleum products from the submerged locomotive.

County officials closed this area of the river to public boat traffic to help expedite the cleanup efforts.


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