DEP Issues Violation Notice to Norfolk Southern for Beaver County Train Derailment
PITTSBURGH (Oct. 26) -- The Department of Environmental Protection
today issued a notice of violation to Norfolk Southern for spills
related to a fiery 23-car train derailment that scattered
ethanol-hauling tankers into the Beaver River and along its banks last
week in New Brighton, Beaver County.
“While the company responded promptly to mitigate the effects
of the derailment, the discharge of ethanol into the river is a
violation of the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law,” DEP Southwest
Regional Director Ken Bowman said. “The company is on notice and must
continue the cleanup of the material from the riverbanks and Big Rock
A notice of violation is a formal decree that informs the
company that its actions violated certain state environmental
regulations. It is not a penalty assessment.
The accident resulted in the evacuation of some 150 residents
in New Brighton and Beaver Falls as tanker cars burned over the entire
weekend. The derailment occurred late Friday night, and the evacuation
notice was lifted at noon Monday.
All of the damaged cars have been removed from the track,
which has reopened, and hauled from the river. They are being stored
and processed in New Brighton’s Big Rock Park. Norfolk Southern is
inspecting all of the tankers to ensure each is empty before
dismantling the cars for transport and disposal.
Throughout the accident response, DEP staff took several water
samples of the Beaver River and collected samples near the intakes for
the Midland Water Authority as well as inside its water treatment plant.
Preliminary sample results show evidence of ethanol and its
additives in the Beaver River within 500 yards downstream of the spill
site on the New Brighton side of the river. Samples results confirmed
no problems with the area’s water supplies.
Norfolk Southern is conducting an environmental assessment to
determine the scope and extent of soil and groundwater contamination at
the crash site and any required cleanup. Work continues on the
collection of ethanol seeps from the bridge abutment area of the crash
Various agencies responded to the accident, including DEP, the
Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Pennsylvania State Police and
the state Department of Transportation. Members of the Civil Air
Patrol, which was on a training exercise in Westmoreland County,
conducted overflights of the scene to provide photos and aid in site