Oil train derailment, fire damaged Oregon water system

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MOSIER, Ore. (KOIN) – The 16-car oil train derailment continues to rock the small town of Mosier 2 days after the fire erupted that forced evacuations and damaged essential city services.

The Mosier waste water treatment plant and sewer system are not operational as a result of the derailment Friday of 16 of the 96 tank cars on a Union Pacific train.

ODOT officials believe the weight of the crash impacted the underground pipes.

The area around the train remains evacuated on Sunday, and officials are conducting continuous water and air monitoring. About 200 people from 20 different agencies are at the scene coordinating the investigation and cleanup.

Raquel Espinoza, the spokesperson for Union Pacific, told KOIN 6 News on Sunday they still don’t know what caused the crash. She added that cameras inside and outside train are being checked to help the investigation but “I don’t know if that (video) will ever be released to the public.”

She also said there is no timeframe right now when cleanup will be complete.

Union Pacific officials set up a hotline for residents of Mosier who have questions: 877.877.2567.

“We apologize to the residents of Mosier, the state of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest region,” Espinoza said Saturday. “This is the type of accident we work to prevent every day. We do everything that we can to move all hazardous materials safely.”

Spokesman Justin Jacobs said Saturday the track about 70 miles east of Portland had been inspected at least 6 times since March 21. It was most recently checked last Tuesday, and within the past month, the company had used a detector car to check for imperfections as well as a geometry car to inspect the ground along the track.

Jacobs said the inspections met or exceeded federal requirements.The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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