Concern with chemicals on board derailed train in Deposit - WBNG.com: Binghamton-area News, Weather, Sports

Concern with chemicals on board derailed train in Deposit

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Renee Conklin Renee Conklin

(WBNG) -- Thursday morning's train derailment in Deposit leaked about 4,000 gallons of diesel into the Delaware River. While it impacted the wildlife, many admit it could've been worse.

"It was great to see our operation in Broome County help out Delaware County," said Broome County Executive Jason Garnar (D). "An accident that could've been a lot worse than it was for sure."

Thankfully no one was injured; however, if more train cars derailed there could've been a chemical catastrophe in Deposit. 

"We're certainly concerned about anything that goes through our community," said Garnar.

On board that 63 rail car train, the Department of Environmental Conservation says there was sulfuric acid and radioactive soils containing low levels of alpha radiation.

"Alpha particles are not terribly strong," said Binghamton University Radiation Safety Committee Chair, Susan Bane.

"If the soil is contained in the containers and they have packed it in an appropriate way then there really is no danger," explained Bane. "If it's contained I would have it come by my house."

Bane said sulfuric acid is battery acid, and that we're exposed to it everyday.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 11 of the 63 rail cars derailed. 

EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez told 12 News, "Two are located in a tributary leading to the Delaware River.  Those located in the water are either empty or carrying construction and demolition materials."

Lopez said 16 cars that were not "impacted or breached" had hazardous waste.

"Sixteen cars containing very low levels of radioactive waste from the Maywood Chemical Superfund site in New Jersey were being transported to a licensed disposal facility in Clive, Utah," said Lopez.

"It would've gone to the yard and would've gone on to make its final journey," explained Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (R-123), who said this is typical for trains to pass through Binghamton. "Trains coming through the Binghamton yard on a regular basis that's the point of a yard is a transfer station."

Lopez went on to say, "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the lead federal agency for the remediation of radioactive waste from the Maywood Superfund site." 

The Maywood Chemical Superfund is located 10 miles west of New York City in Bergen County, NJ. Lopez said the Army Corps has working with the EPA on this matter. 

Lupardo said, "They wouldn't be in business long if they were jeopardizing our communities we pay attention to make sure our communities are safe."

State Senator Fred Akshar (R-52) released the following statement to 12 News:

"I've been in touch with our State Department of Environmental Conservation and I'm encouraged to hear that both state and federal officials have been working around the clock to make sure the spills are contained. I'm confident that the hardworking men and women at the EPA and DEC are doing everything they can to protect our community and our environment just as they do everyday." 

The NYS&W Railway said that the waste was going to be in the Binghamton area for a few hours. The railway released the following statement to 12 News:

From Binghamton, the cars will be interchanged to other railroads and into the national rail network, including the contaminated soil.  All of the 63 rail cars on the train were to be interchanged for a further destination, none of the cars were being unloaded in Binghamton.

Clean up work will continue throughout the weekend.

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