PORTLAND, Ore. – Incident Management Division response personnel from Coast Guard Sector Columbia River, responded to a report of a diesel fuel spill from a Union Pacific train which had reportedly suffered a failure in the on board fuel system while traveling east from Portland along the Columbia River Tuesday night.
The Coast Guard responders worked with Union Pacific personnel and response crews from the National Response Corporation to minimize any further release of fuel from the train while the train was moved across Bridal Veil Creek to allow fuel removal and cleanup.
Watchstanders at Sector Columbia River in Warrenton received the pollution report at around 9:30 p.m. and immediately notified the duty responders in Portland. The responders arrived on scene around 10 p.m. where they immediately received a brief about the spill and the needs to address cleanup and mitigation.
It was reported that a fuel oil filter failed, resulting in approximately 300 gallons of diesel discharged along the train tracks. Upon discovery of the ongoing fuel spill, the train crew immediately stopped the train to ensure that the fuel did not enter Bridal Veil Creek at the upcoming crossing.
Response crews coordinating with Coast Guard responders wrapped the affected areas of the train in plastic and fuel absorbent pads. Additional plastic and absorbent materials were draped across the bridge at Bridal Veil Creek to allow the train to cross the bridge where crews would be able to remove spilled fuel and make necessary repairs.
“This case highlights the training of the train crewmembers and their knowing what to do to mitigate a fuel spill,” said Chief Petty Officer Kevin Ouyoumjian, Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland Incident Management Division responder. “Because the train crew immediately stopped the train their actions ensured the fuel did not contaminate Bridal Veil Creek which could have impacted both the creek and the Columbia River.”
Today Coast Guard crews are surveying the train crossing at Sandy River near Troutdale to ensure that no fuel pollution entered the area and will be coordinating with Union Pacific to address any issues.