65-mile long oil leak reported in SE Minn.
WINONA, Minn. (WKBT) — A 65-mile long oil spill has Winona officials working to contain the mess. A bad valve from a Canadian Pacific oil tanker is believed to be the source of the leak.
The leak started in Red Wing Minn. When the train was made aware of the problem they stopped in Homer Minn., but not until leaving 12,000 gallons behind them.
When the Winona Fire Department got to the leaked oil they were surprised.
“We knew we had a spill. But it had just gone through it basically went through our city. Somebody saw it as the second to last car leaking out of the bottom pipe,” Winona Fire Department Assistant Chief Britt Hendrickson said.
“An investigation was launched immediately and it appears there was a malfunction with one of the car’s valves,” Canadian Pacific Railway spokesperson Ed Greenberg said.
When the train stopped, Canadian Pacific said they immediately notified all necessary agencies.
“(We called) the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as well as local fire departments to insure that they were aware of the situation and the steps we’re taking to respond to it,” Greenberg said.
Now comes the task of cleaning up the spill.
“We put down floor-dry at some of the intersections where civilians walk because it’s pretty slippery,” Hendrickson said.
The environmental hazards aren’t known yet. Canadian Pacific is now in the process of evaluating their options for cleanup.
“We have environmental experts from our company continuing to assess the situation with reps from MPCA in ensuring there have been no environmental impacts,” Greenberg said.
Canadian Pacific said as far as they can tell all oil was contained in between the tracks and there are no risks to the public.
“I’m not aware of any public safety issues at this time,” Greenberg said.
With no immediate safety concerns Canadian Pacific said their next step is investigating.
“Our focus at this time is trying to figure out how the product escaped from the car and ensure all environmental measures have been taken,” Greenberg said.
Canadian Pacific said they will be working with the shippers, car owners, and the rail car builders to find out why there was a leak and to make sure they take the correct steps moving forward.
The Winona Fire Department said that the oil is flammable but with the cold temperatures and the specific type of oil that it was they are not concerned it will ignite.