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Workers Virtually Done With Cleanup

By Olivier Uyttebrouck
Journal Staff Writer
          Workers using vacuum trucks and earth movers Wednesday removed nearly all of the fuel oil that spilled from ruptured tanker cars after a derailment near Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, officials said.
        Sgt. Jason Green said 30,000 to 40,000 gallons of fuel oil spilled into a dry arroyo after 19 rail cars derailed early Tuesday about 10 miles south of San Antonio.
        The two workers aboard the BNSF Railway train were not injured.
        About 22,000 gallons of fuel oil that had collected in pools were vacuumed up with trucks, Green said. The remainder had seeped into soil, which was collected by workers using earth-moving equipment.
        The contaminated soil was placed in a lined containment area and will eventually be taken to a landfill and treated, Green said. Rail service resumed by noon Wednesday, he said.
        The threat to the wildlife refuge, where thousands of cranes, geese and other birds winter each year, appears to be minimal, said John Vradenburg, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages Bosque del Apache.
        "We're fairly confident," Vradenburg said. "They've done a really good job of getting the material into a containment site. That containment site is still at the refuge, but it's out of the waterways."
        Fish and Wildlife personnel drilled a monitoring well downhill from the site Wednesday to test for groundwater contamination, he said.

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