Rail cleanup begins
By By Arthur McLean Managing Editor
Cleanup work has begun at the site of a December train derailment in Canoe.
CSX crews began digging up the coal spilled on the tracks at Canoe near Brushy Creek this week.
Two backhoes were used to pile the dirt near the tracks. It will later be loaded onto dump trucks and carried out of the area.
By Tuesday, crews were cutting the damaged rails for transport out of the area. CSX officials did not return calls concerning the cleanup effort.
Officials with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management said the coal did not present a risk to humans or to fish and wildlife, despite the fact that Brushy Creek is nearby.
Heavy rains over the past several weeks have caused some noticeable run-off into the creek, but ADEM specialists said the coal is a mineral and would only cause a problem if it began to cover the stream bed.
Steve Jenkins, head of ADEM's field operations, said the agency has been in contact with CSX regarding the coal removal. Jenkins said the primary concern with this particular spill is with cleaning it up without causing any more damage to the surrounding area, and without turning the coal into powder.
Officials could not give an estimate for how long the cleanup would take.
The train derailed approximately four miles outside of Atmore, just outside of Canoe.
The CSX train, made up of three locomotives and 95 rail cars, came to a screeching halt that morning. At approximately 9 a.m. emergency officials received word to respond to the site where 29 of the cars had derailed.