PLAINFIELD – The removal of the 20 train cars derailed on June 30 will happen by the end of this week, Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek said.
Konopek said most of the 40,000 gallons of oil, which spilled from two cars and collected in a pit adjacent to the track, has been removed from the scene. The remaining oil in the other cars was also removed and the damaged cars are being prepared for scrapping. The cars also need to be steam cleaned after the oil is removed.
Jonathan Abecassis, a spokesman for Canadian National, said in an email that the cause and circumstances of the June 30 train derailment are still under investigation. Konopek said the preliminary cause for the derailment will take two to three months to figure out.
Konopek said the Environmental Protection Agency officials are monitoring the air in the area 24 hours a day and will also be monitoring the ground for years to come.
He said while local agencies will be removing oil from the soil where the spill occurred, there does not seem to be serious ground contamination.
While all the roads were quickly opened in the days after the spill, Konopek still asks for caution as the clean up continues in the area near Riverwalk Court north of downtown off of Route 59.
“Stay away because there are a lot of semis coming and going,” Konopek said.
Konopek also said that while the clean up process is moving along relatively quickly, the trains coming through the area will continue to move at slower speeds. The trains will be traveling at about 20 mph, he said.
They usually go between 30 and 40 mph depending on the train, and they will gradually be returning to those speeds in the future, he said. Train traffic resumed through the area last Sunday morning.
Konopek reiterated his praise in response to the job in responding of all the agencies involved, and said there are no major hazards to the residents as a result of the spill. He also acknowledged how fortunate the community was to escape what could have been a much more serious incident.
“There were a lot of things in our favor,” Konopek said.