Crude oil spilled in the Iowa river after derailment freight train

Tank cars with crude oil are shown derailed in Lyon County, Iowa, Friday.

(im Hynds/Sioux City Journal via AP)

A train derailment has spilled 230,000 litres of crude oil in Iowa, a river, resulting in a disaster declaration by the governor and a major clean-up operation.

The oil spilled into the swollen Little Rock River in Lyon County at 32 oil tanker cars derailed Friday. The train operator BNSF said 14 of the derailed cars leaked oil, Lyon County Daily News reported.

Crews spent Saturday with the leakage and the building of a temporary road to move equipment to the crash site easier to remove the stacked train cars and pre-cleaning, the Sioux City Journal reported.

“They work hard to get that done,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said after a meeting with the local authorities involved in the clean-up.

They issued a disaster proclamation Saturday for Lyon and three other provinces in response to rain-fueled flooding and the train derailment, the paper reported.


Her proclamation lays the blame for the derailment to the floods, the Associated Press reported. The Little Rock River rose rapidly after heavy rain Wednesday and Thursday.

Almost half of the spill — estimated to be 100,000 gallons — had recorded dams in the vicinity of the derailment site and an additional tree is placed about 5 km downstream, BNSF spokesman Andy Williams said. Skimmers and vacuum trucks were used to remove the oil. Crew will then use equipment for the separation of the oil from the water.

“In addition to the focus on the restoration of the environment, ongoing monitoring takes place for any circumstances which may affect his employees and the community and so far have found no levels of concern,” Williams said.

The train was carrying oil from tar sands in Alberta to Stroud, Okla., for ConocoPhillips. ConocoPhillips spokesman Daren Beaudo said each tanker can hold more than 25,000 gallons of oil.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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