UPDATE: Watertown Residents Allowed to Return Home; Track & Mechanical Issues Focus of Investigation
The mayor of Watertown, Canadian Pacific Railroad, Federal Railroad Administration and the Watertown Fire Chief held a meeting with residents of Watertown Monday evening to update them on the status of the oil leak and train derailment which occurred Sunday.
Residents of the 35 homes that were evacuated due to the leak were allowed to go back home Monday evening. A second meeting will be held Wednesday at 6:30 PM for citizens who were displaced or want to get more information.
According to the Watertown Fire Chief the hazard has been removed from the area and will be monitored overnight. Eight fire volunteers came in to clean up the leak. Fire officials have not detected levels of any chemicals in the air after 300-500 gallons of crude oil leaked out. 75 gallons of foam was applied to the leaking train. The Watertown Fire Department has 600 gallons of foam available for these events.
Canadian Pacific says at 6:15 PM Monday the first train went through the repaired line at reduced speed and others have followed. The railroad will excavate any contaminated soil, clean it and put it back or replace it. All of the rail cars were damaged in the derailment and need to be fixed before being used again.
The Federal Railroad Administration is focusing on mechanical and track cause as the reason for derailment. The tracks were inspected Friday by Canadian Pacific crews. The track in the area of the derailment has now been completely replaced. Speed was not a factor for the derailment. The speed limit for trains traveling through Watertown is 60 mph, but the train on Sunday was only going 28 mph when it derailed.
The Environmental Protection Agency tells residents the oil that leaked into the soil should not impact personal or city wells.