DEQ Testing for Environmental Impacts After Derailment
By Mona Abdi
Lynchburg, VA - The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality says they estimate around 20,000 to 25,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the James River after the train derailment. With a spill that size, there's concern it could have an effect on the environment. DEQ crews have been out since Wednesday afternoon working with emergency response crews. Their initial job was to make sure the response effort didn't further tamper with the environment. Environmental experts say with river spills, the oil washes quickly through the area. That's why Richmond city officials were on high alert Wednesday, because they get their drinking water supply from the James. DEQ crews are monitoring the river and so far they've spotted traces of oil eight to nine miles downstream. They expect to stay until the clean-up is over. "It's going to depend on how long it takes to get the rail cars out of the river and get the oil off the water. But we do expect it will take several days," said Bill Hayden from the DEQ. Richmond city officials say they are still using the James River as a drinking water supply. So far all their water tests have come back negative for residual oil. But they say they will continue work closely with the city of Lynchburg, the DEQ and EPA and keep monitoring the river.
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