Rail Yard Oil Spills – Danger
This article indicates oil spills in rail yards are hazardous to the environment and human health. By the time people realize how serious these spills are, they will already have done their damage. The article suggests the biggest challenge with rail yard oil spills is the treatment of oil-contaminated soil.
Railroaded has provided a lot of information on the rail yard recently constructed by Cando Contracting Ltd. on CN right-of-way in Strathcona County, Alberta to store 225 petroleum tank cars owned by Imperial Oil. Although the operators suggest these tank cars are empty, they are stored with significant amounts of petroleum in the tanks. Nearby residents are concerned about leaks of these petroleum products, coupled with the normal leaking and dripping of oil, grease and solvents from tank cars.
Construction of the rail yard in 2010 significantly altered the natural surface drainage in the area, causing major flooding of neighbouring properties during Spring run-off and during frequent rainstorms in the Spring and Summer, 2011. Water from the rail yard flows into a farm dugout and two wildlife conservation areas, which has the potential for contamination from any spills, leaks or natural dripping of petroleum products and solvents in the rail yard. This is particularly alarming considering the lack of any spill containment measures by the operators.
Although altering natural surface drainage is a violation of provincial legislation, Alberta Environment has to date refused to deal with the matter.