(Cisco, Texas – June 17, 2012)
As if drought and water quality problems weren’t currently bad enough in Texas, a Union Pacific freight train hauling, among other commodities, petroleum oil and methanol, derailed two dozen cars at a bridge over a creek in Eastland County just west of Cisco, TX late Sunday night about 11:26 P.M.,heavily polluting the creek with the spilled hazardous materials.
Methanol is a volatile, colorless, highly flammable liquid used for a number of industrial purposes including the manufacture of anti-freeze, ethanol and biodiesel and as a solvent. Responding to the derailment and spillage, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality estimated as much as 180,000 pounds of methanol had been spilled into Sandy Creek before Union Pacific’s environmental response team could construct a barrier to prevent further pollution of the stream. Although amounts of the petroleum also entered the creek waters, there was no preliminary estimate of how much.
A UPRR spokeswoman said the site was remote and that crews were having difficulty bringing in equipment to handle rerailing of the derailed cars and cleanup of the massive mess created by the spilled chemicals.