Department of Ecology News Release - September 19, 2014

Note: This news release was changed to clarify that both BNSF and contracted spill response teams contained the spill and cleaned up the contaminated rail bed.

BNSF contains diesel spill on rail line near Umatilla
Containment boom placed in Columbia River as precaution

PASCO – BNSF has contained a diesel spill along its tracks between Pasco and McNary dam, near the Columbia River.

The engine’s fuel tank was punctured early Friday morning by a large rock near railroad mile 203. The rock slid onto the center of the tracks from an adjacent cliff and was struck by the train rupturing the fuel tank. The diesel leaked to the rail bed, but has not reached the river.

BNSF immediately dispatched spill response teams to contain the spill, offload the remaining fuel, and clean-up the contaminated rail bed.

It’s unknown how much diesel spilled. Crews will have a better idea once the remaining fuel has been offloaded. The train was carrying up to 3,000 gallons of diesel.

“BNSF responded quickly to the spill, and so far no sheen has been spotted in the river,” said Central Region Spill Response Manager Jeff Lewis.

The train originated at Pasco and was hauling general freight to Seattle.

BNSF spill response teams and contractors are offloading the remaining fuel from the engine, and are developing a plan for removing contaminated soil.

Additional updates will be posted to Ecology’s website.

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Contact:

Brook Beeler, Washington Department of Ecology, 509-329-3478, and @ecyspokane

Gus Melonas, BNSF Railway, 206-625-6220