A BNSF freight train derailed near Seattle early Thursday, spilling an estimated 5,000 gallons of diesel onto the Swinomish Reservation in Anacortes, Washington, according to state officials.
Two of the train’s cars toppled near the Swinomish Channel, according to The Seattle Times. The Washington Department of Ecology is leading cleanup efforts in the aftermath of the derailment, the department reported Thursday on Twitter.
Ecology & the Marine Spill Response Corporation are responding to a BNSF train derailment on the Swinomish Reservation in Anacortes. ~5000 gallons of diesel leaked at this time. Spill happened on a berm & most of diesel leaked on land side. No injuries. pic.twitter.com/RHctfXDngE
— WA Department of Ecology (@EcologyWA) March 16, 2023
The Department of Ecology said there were no indications of impact on water or local wildlife, and the Coast Guard deployed drones to look for oil film on the water. Cleanup efforts involved pumping fuel from the two derailed cars and removing the four remaining upright cars. Crews dug boom ditches along the shoreline to contain the pollution, Department of Ecology response unit supervisor Alison Meyers told The Seattle Times.
“The train did not derail in the direction that would have put pollutants into water, so we’re very fortunate that most of what was spilled ended up on land,” ecology department communications manager Emily Tasaka told the outlet.
“The goal is to clean up the fuel that spilled before it really sinks down into the soil and contaminates the groundwater,” ecology department spokesperson Scarlet Tang added, according to the outlet.
While the Department of Ecology estimates the spill at 5,000 gallons, BNSF spokesperson Lena Kent disputed that number, telling Huffpost the spill was “minimal” while unable to provide a specific number.
This is the second high-profile BNSF train derailment in as many days after a train carrying corn syrup derailed in Mohave County, Arizona, Wednesday night.