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Cleanup efforts underway following Iowa train derailment

September 25, 2018

Workers use cranes to clear rail cars Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, from the scene of a derailment in Alton, Iowa. A bridge beneath a 95-car Union Pacific train collapsed early Sunday morning, knocking 37 cars off the tracks while sending 20 cars carrying soybean oil and sand into the Floyd River. (Tim Hynds/Sioux City Journal via AP)

ALTON, Iowa (AP) — Cleanup efforts are underway after a bridge collapse in northwest Iowa caused a train to derail into the flooded Floyd River.

A containment boom was deployed Sunday to reduce any potential pollution downstream of the derailment, which occurred on the edge of the small town of Alton, The Sioux City Journal reported .

The collapsing bridge sent about 20 freight cars careening into the river earlier that day. No injuries were reported. Sand and soybean oil were released into the river, but no hazardous chemicals were spilled, according to Justin Jacob, a spokesman for Union Pacific.

“The situation could have been much worse,” said Alton Fire Chief Quinton Van Es, noting that the company quickly alerted authorities to the accident.

Union Pacific Environmental Management Group specialists, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources are working to clean up the spill.

Cleanup efforts will continue until at least Wednesday, Van Es said.

“There are contractors who have been working around the clock on cleanup efforts and there will be more on the way,” Van Es said. “We have barricades around town since so much activity is going on. I urge everybody to abide by the barricades that are out there.”

Recent flooding and heavy rain may have contributed to the derailment, said Raquel Espinoza, a spokeswoman for Union Pacific Railroad. The train was traveling from Mankato, Minnesota, to North Platte, Nebraska.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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