Illinois EPA refers Iowa Interstate Railroad to Attorney General for enforcement

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

                     Illinois Environmental Protection

                     Agency Interim Director Lisa Bonnett has asked the

                     Illinois Attorney General’s Office to proceed with an

                     enforcement action and seek immediate injunctive

                     relief against Iowa Interstate Railroad, requiring it

                     to conduct a detailed environmental assessment and

                     remediation of the impact on the environment from a

                     derailment on Oct. 7 near Tiskilwa that resulted

                     in several railroad cars containing ethanol and corn

                     mash catching on fire.

                     The incident resulted in the temporary evacuation of

                     the entire population of the village of Tiskilwa in

                     Bureau County after the early morning derailment.

                     The Illinois EPA is requesting the Attorney General

                     seek an Interim Order from the Bureau County Circuit

                     Court to require Iowa Interstate Railroad to conduct

                     an expedited investigation of impacts on groundwater

                     and the threat posed by subsurface migration toward

                     Plow Hollow Creek and Big Bureau Creek, which

                     ultimately flow into the Illinois River. The request

                     also asks that the order include requirements that

                     the railroad:

                     • Retain a hydrogeologist acceptable to Illinois EPA

                     • Sample soil, groundwater and surface water in

                     accordance with an investigation plan approved  by

                     Illinois EPA

                     • Conduct sampling of nearby residential wells in

                     coordination with the Bureau County Health Department

                     and Illinois Department of Public Health

                     • Install a network of permanent groundwater

                     monitoring wells approved by Illinois EPA that will

                     be “sentinels” to monitor movement of ethanol, its

                     degradation products and other contaminants from the

                     release through the subsurface over time toward the

                     residential wells and the surface water of Plow

                     Hollow Creek and Big Bureau Creek

                     • Provide a report of the sampling done to Illinois

                     EPA for review and approval

                     • Propose remedial (clean-up) measures to address any

                     residual contamination detected in the investigation

                     of soil, groundwater and surface water for Illinois

                     EPA review and approval

                     • Provide cost reimbursement to Illinois  EPA for its

                     review and oversight expenses connected with the

                     incident

                     • Submit a report detailing the facts regarding the

                     cause of the derailment and potential measures that

                     may be implemented to prevent further such releases

                     for Illinois EPA review and approval and submit

                     weekly status reports to Illinois EPA on the sampling

                     and remediation progress

                     In addition, Illinois EPA asked the Attorney

                     General’s Office to pursue enforcement action against

                     Iowa Interstate Railroad for “creating and

                     maintaining a water pollution hazard” and the Agency

                     is awaiting analytical results from air and water

                     sampling to determine whether additional violations

                     will be referred.