GRANT COUNTY (WKOW) -- Two train derailments in one weekend in Wisconsin have emergency management officials in river communities worried.
A Burlington Northern Santa Fe train derailed Saturday morning near Alma, Wisconsin. Railway crews were back on the scene Sunday cleaning up. The train carrying ethanol went off the tracks, spilling more than 18,000 gallons into the Mississippi River. A BNSF spokesperson says the company will continue monitoring the environmental impact, working with federal and state agencies.
Sunday afternoon, a Canadian Pacific train went off the tracks in Watertown, spilling less than 1,000 gallons of crude oil. Residents nearby were evacuated and its unclear at this time when they'll be able to return home.
The two, major derailments are a concern for emergency officials, like Steve Braun in Grant County. Braun tells 27 News the county has been working more closely in recent months with BNSF and other agencies to better prepare for a possible spill.
"We have had a dialogue open with the railroad. We have seen some positive steps forward with the railroad to help provide some of the equipment, like booms, to help contain spills along the river, something that we really need to do immediately, we can't really wait for the railroad to get here to do that," Braun says. "So they have been proactively working with us to supply some of that equipment."
The county also has gotten a drone to fly over incidents to get a better look over rugged terrain as to how to address a problem derailment. In the past few months, Grant County has purchased a new HAZMAT truck and a new mobile command post to use in case of emergency.
Braun says the biggest shortcoming right now is making sure responders have enough firefighting foam to fight spills and fires. It's a statewide problem.
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Watertown community affected by train derailment
State, federal investigators on scene of train derailment in Watertown
Residents evacuated after train derailment in Watertown
Train derails in western Wisconsin