Train Derailment Forces Sewer System Shutdown

Hundreds of displaced residents encouraged to ration sewer and water after damaged wastewater infrastructure is taken offline.

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More than 400 residents were without wastewater services after an oil train derailed and caught fire June 3 in the Columbia River Gorge town of Mosier, Oregon.

According to The Oregonian, the Mosier wastewater treatment plant was damaged when roughly 10,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from railcars into the sewer system through three sheared off manholes. Oregon Department of Transportation officials also believe the weight of the 16-car crash affected underground pipes.

“Oil has gotten into the sewage system,” says Mayor Arlene Burns. “That means we can’t discharge the normal things. None of that can go into the river now. This will require citizens rationing their water and sewer.”

Public safety officials began warning residents June 5 not to flush toilets. “Some people are flushing their toilets, which is problematic because there isn’t a place for it to go,” Burns says.

Crews installed a temporary vault to hold wastewater until it could be pumped to the treatment plant, The Oregonian reports.

The mayor says the town also exhausted its water reserves as crews extinguished the flames and cooled the train. According to the report, the area’s aquifer is dry, leaving residents without essential water reserves.

“If this isn’t solved, we’ll all have to move somewhere else,” Burns says.

Source: The Oregonian, KSNT


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