Less than two months after a similar incident in North Dakota, a train carrying crude oil derailed yesterday in Pennsylvania, spilling an estimated 3-4,000 gallons of oil.
Twenty-one tank cars of a 120-car Norfolk Southern Corp. train left the tracks at a turn near the Kiskiminetas River in Vandergrift, a small town in western Pennsylvania. One of the cars slammed into a building. No injuries were reported.
Norfolk spokesman Dan Stevens said the spill was “contained” and that the railroad’s hazmat crews wereon site and “will be taking care of that situation.”
A derailment December 30th in Casselton, North Dakota also spilled oil into the environment, and caused a series of blasts that sent flames 100 feet into the air and forced the evacuation of nearby residents. State health officials recently announced that cleanup from that derailment is expected to continue for several months, with approximately 9,000 cubic yards of fouled dart already removed and sent to landfills.
A surge in oil train accidents
The two incidents are part of a surge in accidents involving rail transportation of oil. The Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration reportedly recently that in 2013, more than 1.15 million gallons of crude oil leaked from trains into the environment, compared with 800,000 gallons that spilled from railroad tankers between 1975 and 2010.
The derailments have renewed calls for stricter safety standards on trains hauling hazardous materials.
“Anyone who saw the video of that crash saw the fire that came out and the explosion,” North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple said in December after the Casselton explosion. “That visual leaves an impression on anybody, including oil producers. We do need some kind of provisional standard for the next year.”