20K gallons of crude spill in MN train wreck

Train derailed
Crews work to recover an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 gallons of crude oil that leaked from three tanker cars involved in a derailment near Parkers Prairie in west central Minnesota Wednesday morning, March 27, 2013.
Photo courtesy Minnesota Pollution Control Agency/Doug Bellefeuille,

An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 gallons of crude oil spilled when part of a train derailed Wednesday morning in western Minnesota.

According to the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Department, just after 6 a.m. today a Canadian Pacific train traveling southbound went into emergency braking mode near Parkers Prairie in Otter Tail County.

There were no injuries, but 14 of the train's 94 cars derailed. At least three train cars have spilled or leaked crude oil.

"Our response protocols were enacted immediately at the time of the incident and we have crews at the scene, including an environmental expert who is overseeing the process of cleaning up the product that did seep out," said Ed Greenberg, spokesperson with Canadian Pacific.

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Greenberg said the company has options for re-routing trains.

"The trains on our network are continuing to move as we ensure that the necessary clean up procedures are being carried out at the site here," he said.

14 Canadian Pacific railroad cars carrying crude oil derailed and some ruptured early Wed. near Parkers Prairie MN twitter.com/pp_independent...

— P.P. Independent (@pp_independent) March 27, 2013

The Otter Tail Sheriff's Department, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Canadian Pacific all say they're investigating the incident.

Dan Olson, a spokesperson with the MPCA, said the ground is still frozen and the environmental impact appears minimal.

Olson says one heavily damaged car has spilled much of its 26,000-gallon load. He says two other cars tipped over and are leaking.

It could take several days to clean up the spill, however.

"On one side of the track is a field. On the other side of the track is a ditch and that's where all this loose product pooled and is now being collected up," Olson said. "Because of these frozen conditions we don't anticipate there's any threat to near-by ground water or any surface water."

Canadian Pacific will need to conduct additional tests to determine if any oil seeped into the ground, Olson said.

At this point, there has been no discussion of fining the rail company, he said.

Associated Press contributed to this report

Another photo from the train derailment earlier this morning near Parkers Prairie. twitter.com/pp_independent...

— P.P. Independent (@pp_independent) March 27, 2013