Work begins to clean up train derailment in Montana’s Yellowstone River

Officials in southern Montana are currently engaged in the task of cleaning up the collapsed bridge over the Yellowstone River, which occurred over the weekend and involved rail cars carrying hazardous materials.

In a collaborative statement released with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and Montana Rail Link, Beth Archer, a representative for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is collaborating with its labor organizations and BNSF Railway to redirect cargo trains in the region to minimize disturbance to the distribution network. Montana Rail Link is formulating a strategy for remediation.

According to the officials, after establishing a plan, on-site contractors and a sizable crane were brought in to stabilize and extract the vehicles from the river.

Archer stated, “and relocated to a secure location, other vehicles transported their sodium hydrosulfide cargoes, and some rail cars that did not go off the tracks were taken out of the area.”

CEO Joe Racicot informed the press conference that Montana Rail Link will bear the responsibility for all expenses related to the cleanup.

Sixteen vehicles derailed, and 10 of them ended up in the river downstream from Yellowstone National Park on Saturday morning.

On Monday, in an area encompassed by farmland near the town of Columbus, approximately 40 miles (approximately 64 kilometers) to the west of Billings, six damaged vehicles transporting hot asphalt, three containing liquid sulfur, and one carrying scrap metal were still present in the swiftly flowing water.

Two of the vehicles were submerged, and a diving team was dispatched to collect further details, Archer stated.

Joni Sandoval, the on-scene coordinator of the EPA, stated during a press conference that her agency has extended an invitation to specialists from federal and state agencies responsible for the conservation of fish and wildlife to visit the location in order to evaluate the impact of the train accident on the local fauna.

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According to officials, the asphalt and sulfur hardened and descended in the frigid water. According to the declaration, a few asphalt droplets were discovered downstream, but they are not soluble in water and are not anticipated to have any effect on water quality.

The Department of Environmental Quality stated that samples of water taken on Saturday from upstream did not show any presence of sulfur and petroleum levels consistent with the materials from the derailment, said Steinweden Shasta.

Results from samples collected on Sunday and Monday were still awaiting confirmation.

The cause of the collapse was under investigation. Some cars remained stable at the back before the train crossed the bridge, and there were no reported injuries.

Officials from the company did not return a call seeking further information on Monday. Net Global said on Sunday that it had developed a temporary workaround. Additionally, there was a collapse of two major fiber-optic lines, causing the cut.

The White House was monitoring the situation and Jean-Pierre Karin, the spokesperson, mentioned that they might be prepared to offer any federal help if needed on Monday.

The derailment of a freight train near East Palestine, Ohio, after four months has led to an uncontrolled explosion, causing the eventual burning of hazardous materials and necessitating evacuations.

Union representatives provided testimony last week during a congressional hearing regarding the Ohio train accident, indicating that examinations of cargo train cars are happening less frequently.

Jean-Pierre mentioned that the Department of Transportation in the United States is investigating methods to avoid train derailments.

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The government has been “fully engaged,” she said.

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