According to the Alexandria Fire Department, Norfolk Southern Railroad officials announced at a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) meeting on March 7 that effective March 1, the Norfolk Southern (NS) Railroad facility, located on the City’s West End, began loading used oil from tanker trucks onto a rail car inside the NS rail yard property.
One non-pressure tank car is expected to receive used oil every 2 to 3 days. Each truckload will deliver about 3,650 gallons of used oil, and it will take about 8 truckloads to fill the rail car. The Fire Marshal reports that used oil is considered a non-hazardous waste, according to the Material Data Safety Sheet. Norfolk Southern Railroad has installed additional spill containment equipment at the location of the oil transfer.
According to the Alexandria City Attorney, this action by Norfolk Southern is a business choice that falls within the same legal precedent used for ethanol transloading at the facility. Any attempt at local regulation is preempted by federal law.
The Fire Marshal’s Office will continue to monitor the oil transfer process at the Norfolk Southern facility. If you need more information or are interested in meeting about this issue, please contact Assistant Fire Marshal Russell Furr at 703.746.4247.
The Local Emergency Planning Committee is responsible for assisting in planning and preparation for emergency responses addressing hazardous substances. The 10-member group is composed of elected local officials and representatives from public safety, community groups, media, and industries subject to federal emergency planning requirements.