Rock Valley Mayor, Kevin Van Otterloo says he is more than satisfied with the response from the railroad following the derailment of tanker cars and the release of crude oil upstream of the city Friday near Doon.
“They’re very supportive, they’ve really helped –they’re trying everything they can. I can’t say enough good about them, they’re doing a terrific job,” Van Otterloo says. A spokesman for the Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railroad says 14 of the 32 cars leaked around 230-thousand gallons of oil. The took action to contain what they could and the clean up efforts continue. There was a concern the oil would contaminate Rock Valley’s well field where the city draws water — but Van Otterloo says they remain contaminate free.
“I don’t think our fields are compromised at all, but we have to wait to get that test for sure,” he says. The DNR, EPA, and the railroad will all conduct tests of the well sites Van Otterloo says he is also happy with the state, county, and local agencies that responded to help residents. He says this flooding is not as bad as the record flooding that hit the northwest Iowa community in 2014. He says it has a different type of impact and damage.
He says they survived the initial flooding better, but he says they’ve had a lot more issues with groundwater coming into basements. “I am not sure how much more damage we are going to have,” according to Van Otterloo. “The residents were more prepared this time getting belongings and stuffs out of their basements. I’m just not exactly sure how it is all going to end up — the flooding was not as bad as 2014.” Some 75 homes in Rock Valley were evacuated Sunday night in the northern part of the town when more heavy rains threatened.
(By Mark Buss, KSOU, Sioux Center)