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 Update on response to Fayette County, W.Va. train derailment

2/16/2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The State of West Virginia continues to support first responders and emergency management officials in Fayette and Kanawha counties following Monday’s derailment of a CSX train hauling crude oil near Mount Carbon in Fayette County, W.Va.

 That response includes the providing of potable water for customers of the Montgomery water treatment plant, which shut its intake as a precaution following reports that some of the crude oil had leaked into a creek that flows into the Kanawha River. That facility draws water from the Kanawha River a few miles downstream of the accident.

 Assisted by the West Virginia Department of Transportation, West Virginia American Water is providing a pair of 8,000 gallon tankers to supply Montgomery General Hospital and a neighboring long-term care facility to ensure their boilers can continue to operate.

 The Montgomery treatment plant still had water in its reserves as of 10 p.m. EST. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources continues to work with the local water supply facilities to ensure the protection of public health.

 Elements of the West Virginia National Guard’s 35th Civil Support Team have begun drawing samples, to test for the spilled crude oil. While initial reports indicated that one or more tanker cars had ended up in the water following the derailment, that does not appear to be the case.

 The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has personnel at the derailment site to assist in gauging the potential threat to area water. The goal is to ensure the Montgomery facility can resume operations as soon as conditions allow.

 The intake at the Cedar Grove water treatment plant is open. That facility, further downriver from the accident, continues to monitor the water approaching its intake for any signs of crude oil from the derailment.

 CSX and the American Red Cross are assisting residents displaced by the derailment and subsequent fire, which has also damaged area power lines. While local responders earlier estimated that as many as 1,000 area residents might be affected, only 85 were in local shelters late Monday evening.

Shelters have been set up at: Valley High School, 55 Greyhound Lane, Smithers; and Armstrong Creek Fire Department, 3319 Armstrong Creek Road, Powellton.

 Both the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are assisting in the derailment response. The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, like the National Guard part of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, is helping to coordinate the overall response and field local requests for resources and assistance.

 CSX plans to open a community outreach center to address community needs as a result of the train derailment. That center will be open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. until further notice at the Glass-in Riverside Room at the Glen Ferris Inn on U.S. Route 60 in Glen Ferris.

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Contact: Lawrence Messina | (304) 558-2930 | Lawrence.C.Messina@wv.gov

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