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Ethanol Loss Estimates Increased to 49,000 Gallons in Charles City Train Derailment

CHARLES CITY – Canadian Pacific Railroad successfully removed three ethanol cars on Wednesday, May 22nd from the Little Cedar River east of Charles City and then found that more ethanol had leaked than previously estimated.

Their measurements showed approximately 49,000 gallons of ethanol had leaked from two of the three tanker cars. Ethanol in the water can decrease oxygen levels enough to kill fish or other aquatic organisms.

Railroad officials think the leak was very slow, starting when the cars derailed Monday night. The railroad has been continuously monitoring oxygen levels in the stream since Tuesday. However, monitoring shows normal oxygen levels, and staff have found no dead or distressed fish for up to 20 miles below the derailed train.

Thursday night, the railroad removed the three locomotives from the water. While they recovered much of the fuel, the railroad estimates 300 to 400 gallons of diesel fuel and 100 gallons of lube oil leaked into the stream.

Floating booms and absorbent pads will remain in place to capture as much diesel fuel as possible until the area is dry.

The railroad’s environmental recovery firm will monitor the site throughout the end of May.

The DNR will continue to monitor the situation and cleanup, and consider appropriate enforcement action.

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