Two weekend train derailments in Wisconsin

Train cars lie overturned outside of Alma, Wis. after derailing on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. BNSF Railway said multiple tanker cars leaked ethanol into the Mississippi River on Saturday. (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP)

WATERTOWN, Wi. (WBAY) — A Canadian-Pacific Railway (CP)  train carrying crude oil derailed in Watertown, Wis. on Sunday around 2 p.m., according to Jeremy Berry a spokesperson for CP.

Although there are no injuries or fires reported, Berry said 13 train cars derailed. One car was punctured and leaked oil. That substance has been contained and did not run into any waterways. Berry said preliminary reports indicate less than 1,000 gallons of oil spilled and all of it will be hauled away and disposed of in an environmentally safe manner. 35 homes have been evacuated.

Berry said safety is the top priority for CP and it’s taking the incident extremely seriously.


Another derailment occurred in Western Wisconsin Saturday.

Local, county, regional, state, and federal officials responded to a BNSF Railway train derailment Saturday in western Wisconsin which caused more than 18,000 gallons of ethanol to leak into the Mississippi River.

Around 8:50 a.m., approximately 32 rail cars out of 112 cars went off of the train tracks. Five of the 32 cars, leaked denatured alcohol, also known as ethanol, according to the Buffalo County Sheriff’s Office.

The derailment occurred near Wis. Hwy 35 and County Road I, near Alma, Wis. — located south of the Twin Cities, but north of La Crosse.

Police say they evacuated those near the derailment site as a precaution and shutdown Wis. Hwys 35 and 37 for more than five hours Saturday.

Although the evacuation order has been lifted, police advise using caution if traveling through the area due to the amount of recovery vehicles working in the area over the next several days.

Human exposure to ethanol during spill situations can occur by inhalation, contact with the skin, or ingestion if ethanol reaches water supplies, according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Ironically, Ethanol is a gasoline additive that is supposed to be better for the environment. Although recent studies show that vehicles actually obtain better fuel efficiency without adding ethanol.  Critics of Ethanol have also said the additive is responsible for driving up the cost of gas prices. Ethanol is also used in perfumes and medicines.

The following agencies responded to Saturday’s incident: The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Office, Wisconsin State Patrol, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, La Crosse Regional Hazmat Response Team, Buffalo and Trempealau County Emergency Management, Buffalo County Sheriff’s office, Alma Police, Fire and Ambulance, Nelson and Tri-Community Fire.

BNSF says the cause of the derailment remains under investigation and hopes the tracks will reopen Monday morning,

“BNSF is continuing to monitor for environmental impacts and to work on scene with the multiple federal and state agencies involved,” company officials said in a written statement.

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