Hazardous material spilled from trains totaled over 4,150 gallons in Illinois last year, according to new data analyzed by the Daily Herald. That's up from 2013, when trains spilled 187 gallons of hazmat in Illinois.
Illinois saw the amount of hazmat spilled from trains tick up sharply during the first quarter of this year to over 110,500 gallons. Much of that spilled material came from the March crude oil train derailment in Galena.
Among other notable figures cited in the newspaper's report, Illinois saw 37 hazardous material leaks from trains in 2014, with one of the spills resulting from a train derailment. Last year, 108 train derailments were reported in the state, 20 percent of which involved trains moving, but not releasing, hazardous material.
In related news, diesel fuel from a Union Pacific Railroad train traveling in Champaign County leaked into the Salt Fork River on May 2. Some 2,000 gallons of fuel spilled from the train.
As a result of the incident, the state's Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) is "seeking immediate injunctive relief" that would require the railroad to take "all appropriate measures to mitigate the release." The agency referred enforcement to Illinois Attorney General on Friday.
"A remediation contractor [from Union Pacific Railroad] has been on site since May 2, but did not adequately boom the spill area to prevent further migration to waters of the state," IEPA said in a news release. "Illinois EPA advised Union Pacific and its contractor that additional booms needed to be deployed; that a vacuum truck was required to recover diesel from the water of the tributary; that a recovery trench would be appropriate to intercept product still in soil and ballast around the rail line; and an underflow dam would be desirable."
"In the referral, the [Illinois EPA] cited violations of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, in which the company caused air pollution and offensive conditions in the air; caused water pollution and offensive conditions in waters of the State; created a continued water pollution hazard in the soils and ballast; and discharged diesel fuel through the drain tile system without an appropriate permit," the news release adds. "Illinois EPA has requested an interim injunctive order from Champaign County Circuit Court that will require further mitigation activities by Union Pacific. The Agency continues to monitory the remediation of the area."