GALENA, Ill., March 8 (UPI) — The Environmental Protection Agency said that Thursday’s oil train derailment and spill in Illinois poses an “imminent and substantial danger” of contaminating the Mississippi River.
The Galena River and the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge are also threatened. Fires resulting from the derailment continued to burn Saturday.
The EPA has not determined how much oil was spilled, but the train was loaded with 630,000 gallons.
Two of the train’s cars, carrying Bakken crude from North Dakota, caught fire after a derailment near Galena, Ill., on Thursday. Homes were evacuated within a one-mile radius.
The 105-car train was traveling at about 23 miles per hour when it derailed, which is below the maximum speed allowed.
The train derailed near the confluence of the Galena and Mississippi Rivers, near Illinois’ border with Wisconsin and Iowa. There were no reported injuries.
BNSF Railway in a statement said the tank cars involved were the “CPC-1232 model that were unjacketed with half-height head shields.” The newer 1232 model was designed four years ago as part of voluntary safety upgrades adopted by the industry.
Sixteen of the 105 cars of the train, all but two carrying crude oil, left the tracks, and two ignited, Galena City Administrator Mark Moran said.
The derailment is the third in the past weeks. In February, trains carrying crude oil derailed in West Virginia and Ontario, Canada.