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Train from Alberta derails, spills oil in Iowa

Evacuations Ordered For Community Along Northwest Iowa River

One or more of 31 tanker cars on the derailed train is leaking into floodwaters surrounding the tracks near Doon, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) southeast of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Beaudo also did not know whether the derailed oil cars were the safer, newer tankers meant to help prevent leaks in the event of an accident.

Ken Hessenius with the Iowa Natural Resources Department says his crews will try to determine how fast the oil is being carried downstream by the rain-swollen Little Rock River. The cause has not been confirmed, although Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds attributed it to an intense storm and flash flooding in an emergency proclamation issued by her office on Saturday.

BNSF railroad spokesman Andy Williams said workers have unloaded oil from 10 of the oil tank cars that did not leak after the derailment approximately 15 miles south of the Minnesota border. Some of the tankers were compromised, causing the oil to leak into floodwaters and eventually into the rain-swollen Little Rock River, but officials didn't have an exact number of tankers that leaked oil by late Friday afternoon, Williams said.

Railroad crews have also built a 1/8 mile gravel road out to the cars to clean up the mess.

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Sheriff Vander Stoep said, "There is so much food for the workers and for us at the incident command, it's just incredible how little these communities come together". The train was carrying crude from the oil sands of western Alberta to Stroud, Oklahoma. ConocoPhillips spokesman Daren Beaudo said each tanker can hold more than 25 000 gal. of oil.

Williams said oil will be removed from the containment site with equipment to separate the oil from the water.

Danger from the spill has been exacerbated by recent rainfall, which has caused the Rock River to overflow its banks along the route of the train tracks.

Metropolitan Utilities District, which provides the Omaha metro area's drinking water, said it was monitoring the spill. The spill has raised concerns about drinking water downstream.

The city, with a population of almost 3,400, will stay on the rural water system until testing by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources confirms the safety of the city's drinking water, Olson said.

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