Derailment spill put at 578 gallons

Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Alaska Railroad derailment near the Parks Highway in Wasilla July 12 spilled 578 gallons of gasoline, state environmental officials said.

The size of the spill had originally been estimated at between 100 and 400 gallons.

Nine cars in a freight train jumped the tracks near Wasilla. Four 20,000-gallon tanker cars filled with gasoline tumbled down a steep 25-foot embankment. One of the tanks spilled fuel when a valve opened. The cause of the derailment is under investigation.

Officials with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said the agency will work with the railroad to collect soil samples and monitor pollution at the site. The railroad has completed removal of the damaged cars from the site, DEC officials said.

The spill was the third such incident in eight months. Gov. Tony Knowles has ordered an investigation of operational safety of the state-owned railroad.

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