Railway Fined $4M for Chlorine Spill

by | Mar 10, 2010

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4055022Norfolk Southern Railway will pay a $4 million penalty over a 2005 chlorine spill in Graniteville, S.C.

The penalty, for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and hazardous materials laws, was reached March 8 by the railway, the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to a press release.

The deal also calls for Norfolk Southern to make some environmental improvements in the area where the spill occured, reports the Augusta Chronicle.

The Jan. 6, 2005 spill, caused by a train wreck, involved the discharge of tons of chlorine, a hazardous substance, from a derailed train tank car and thousands of gallons of diesel fuel from ruptured locomotive engine fuel tanks.

The railroad failed to immediately notify the National Response Center of the chlorine spill, causing an additional penalty of $32,500, to be deposited in the Hazardous Substance Superfund.

Nine people died as a result of chlorine exposure and about 5,000 people had to be evacuated.

A cloud of the gas settled over a nearby waterway, killing hundreds of fish.

Norfolk Southern will provide incident command system training to environmental and transportation personnel and undertake a supplemental environmental project valued at $100,000 to plant vegetation along the banks of Horse Creek to decrease erosion and sedimentation.

The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court review and approval.

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