(WBNG) -- Neighbors up to 15 miles from the site of the train derailment on Thursday reported being able to smell the fumes from the diesel spill.
The Delaware River is right in Phil Cowan's backyard. Cowan says he immediately knew there was some type of oil spill. It troubled him knowing it could affect so many people, and wildlife.
"This is a major waterway, this is a major recreation area, it provides drinking water -- the whole system -- for millions and millions of people. And it's a huge concern. Our waterfront right here has been contaminated with diesel," said Cowan.
Cowan called the situation "unbelievable" despite knowing something like this could have happened at any time.
"And this is something we've always worried about. That railroad has been there for over 150 years, but as humanity has progressed, there are more and more toxic chemicals coming down this railroad. It's one of those things you hope never happens, but here it did," he said.
Meanwhile, in Hancock, residents say the spill had even more of an impact on them, especially for those who live directly across the street from the river.
"When I first woke up and went outside it was pretty strong, it made your eyes water. First I thought it was a construction site across the river, maybe a barrel tipped over for fuel for the equipment but then we saw on the news it was a train derailment and from there we didn't know what was coming up the river that might have been on the cars or on the engine," said Hancock resident Jay Smith.
Officials say there is not much residents can do now that the fuel is in the water. The Friends of the Upper Delaware River says to be vigilant of calm spots in the river, because that may be where the diesel is sitting.