Maine Forest Service and Land Use Planning Commission issue a Joint Notice of Violation to Railway with the assistance of Maine DEP

April 28, 2023

The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Maine Forest Service (MFS), and staff from the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC), which serves as the planning and zoning authority for the unorganized and deorganized areas of the State, including townships and plantations, conducted site visits earlier this week. During their examination, they observed that access roads leading to the derailment site were experiencing considerable sedimentation at several different locations. LUPC and MFS staff notified Canadian Pacific Kansas City Railway (CPKC) late Monday afternoon of their concerns. Late Thursday, the MFS and LUPC sent CPKC a Notice of Violation (NOV) after consulting with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Additionally, DEP Commissioner Melanie Loyzim issued a second letter instructing the railway to implement erosion control measures immediately in the areas identified by LUPC and MFS. A significant amount of sediment was released into Maine's waters in violation of the Pollution Control Law because of the use of heavy construction equipment to access the site for remediation and clean-up. Culverts were crushed and dirt has been shifted in and around a number of streams as a result of heavy machinery using the forest management roads.

Because of recent precipitation, the spring thaw, and the likelihood of heavy rain early next week, the DEP is recommending that CPKC avoid the use of heavy equipment on the forest management roads, other than the Demo Road, until the rain ends, and those roads can be stabilized.

Update on Clean-up effort

This previous weekend's work was mostly focused on replacing saturated sorbents and removing oil-contaminated/charred debris. Much of the debris (excluding rail cars) was positioned close to the tracks for later removal after a significant portion of it was cleared away. On Saturday, a vacuum truck remained on-site for most of the day to recover emulsified product from pockets close to the track. These areas, which are situated on either side of the culverts, continue to recharge.

CPKC presently has approximately 60 Emergency Spill Responders and Environmental Professionals on-site involved in clean-up and monitoring soil and surface water quality.

Specialized railway equipment to load and transport waste arrived on-site Thursday. With this equipment, which will be lined with plastic before loading, CPKC will be able to remove oil saturated materials from the site with fewer chances for the oil to leak back into the environment during transportation.

As of Thursday, 4 lumber cars had been disassembled, the metal staged, and in the process of being trucked away from the site. Three locomotives are still present by the rails and waiting to be scrapped. To prevent other spills like the one that happened last week, DEP worked with CPKC to ensure that the damaged locomotives and railcars were inspected prior to disassembling, and the perimeter of the work area was controlled to prevent any more mitigation.

This week, CPKC reported to DEP that the response team has deployed and recovered 32,900 absorbent pads, 15,424 feet of absorbent boom, and 3150 gallons of fluid (a mixture of oil, water, and diesel) using vacuum truck operations.

DEP staff will remain onsite again this weekend to oversee and assist CPKC and their contractors with the ongoing clean-up work. Out of an abundance of caution, DEP urges the public to refrain from trying to access the site by land or water until clean-up and remediation operations are complete.

The MFS/LUPC Notice of Violation and the DEP Commissioner's letter

For additional information, contact: David R. Madore, Deputy Commissioner