UPPER DELAWARE - At approximately 2:30 a.m., Thursday, August 9, a Norfolk/Southern "mixed cargo" train transporting various types of waste derailed just above the Hale Eddy Bridge, on the West Branch of the Upper Delaware River, near Deposit, NY.
Jeff Skelding, Executive Director of the Friends of the Upper Delaware (FUDR), related that highly visible diesel fuel slicks and strong fuel odors have been detected as far south as Lordville, NY and likely much further downstream. The derailment occurred at a time when the Upper Delaware region has experienced recent torrential rainstorms, in addition to high releases from the NYC Delaware basin reservoirs.
FUDR is in touch with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and other first responders and here's what we know:NYSDEC is reporting that the train was carrying an estimated 4000 gallons of diesel fuel and a "large percentage" has spilled into the river.
At least two rail cars are in the river.
According to NYSDEC they believe the cars in the river are either empty or contain construction and demolition debris.
NYSDEC Region 4 emergency spill team, fisheries, law enforcement, and drones are on site.
High water makes it difficult to capture fuel; responders are looking for eddies and pooled up areas to address first.
National Park Service officials are on site.
UPDATE:Some additional information on the trail derailment just upstream of the Hale Eddy Bridge on the West Branch of the Upper Delaware River near Deposit, NY : This was a non-passenger train and reports are that there are no injuries to the train conductors or other railroad personnel. There are also no reports of any injuries to residents or visitors. We will alert you about any planned public health assessments with regard to the fuel oil spill.
First responders arrived quickly and from many different government agencies including the Office of Homeland Security, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Department of Transportation, and the New York State Office of Emergency Management, National Park Service, and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
Numerous other local, state, and federal agencies are on the scene as well and we thank them for their timely and professional response to the derailment incident.
According to the NYS Office of Emergency Management (NYSDEC), the fuel oil spill to the river will have little to no damaging effects on the river and should dissipate rapidly due to the nature of its composition and the extremely high water flows in the river. Action item! The Department of Environmental Conservation is asking everybody who spends time on or near the river to contact them if they see any evidence of impacts to wildife/habitat or fuel oil build-up, especially in the quiet eddies and pools near the riverbanks. Look for a reddish/brownish sheen on the surface of the river that looks similar to brake fluid or transmission fluid.
Please take a picture of any observed impacts with GPS coordinates and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org if you see negative impacts of the spill and we'll forward them to the NYSDEC.