BONNERS FERRY — According to a press release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Jan. 9, contracted divers from BNSF Railway attempted to empty the fuel tank and the oil from the crankcase of the locomotive in the Kootenai River, that had derailed on Jan. 1 due to a landslide. The result of the efforts of the divers produced no oil, only river water.
According to the press release, the EPA has concluded its response to the emergency, stating there is no longer a threat of release of petroleum products or other hazardous substances into the Kootenai River.
BNSF is currently developing an estimate of the significant volume of diesel that has been captured by the absorbent boom and pads. Estimates skimmers have also captured approximately 180 gallons of diesel from areas with containment booms.
According to the press release, contractors have conducted a thorough survey of all shorelines that are not accessible by boat, where they found two small collections of oil, which were immediately removed.
Idaho DEQ, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, and Boundary County is continuing to work in coordination with BNSF and other local, state, and federal agencies, to continue to monitor water quality, as well as other work, to protect public health and the environment of the area.