Reports of derailed trains carrying dangerous materials continue to mount. A CSX freight train derailed near the community of Molino, FL, during the snowstorm 28 January 2014, causing 30,000 gallons of a corrosive acid to spill into a creek feeding the Escambia River, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) officials said.
Four of the train cars that jumped the tracks contained phosphoric acid, a corrosive chemical used to make beverages and fertilizer.
CSX work crews; contractors; and other local, state, and federal agencies helped remove derailed freight train cars from Fletcher Creek and the surrounding train tracks, said DEP’s Brandy Smith.
Responders are containing and neutralizing the acid on site then pumping it into containers for transportation and treatment at a wastewater treatment plant, Smith said. Samples retrieved from the river haven’t yet shown any impact. Although an estimated 300 fish died after the spill in the creek, no other dead fish had been reported following the first 48 hours after the derailment. After removing the cars from the creek and tracks, responders can now focus on removing the phosphoric acid from the creek.
Investigators will try to determine the cause of the derailment, but it is too early to know if the Department of Environmental Protection will take action, she said.
Agencies participating in the cleanup include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Railroad Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection, Escambia County Department of Health and the Escambia County Fire Department.