Public Lab Research note


CP RR oil tanker leak from Red wing to Winona MN, beside Mississippi River

by marlokeno | February 12, 2014 03:58 | 122 views | 10 comments | #10030 | 122 views | 10 comments | #10030 12 Feb 03:58

I want to know how much oil spilled, what type of oil it is-reportedly, Bakken oil, and whether this will go into the Mississippi River.

1) Mapping spill: https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zv0R1vU-ImQY.k8wN11uBjFhE

My attempt and results-Photographing spill- Weaver, MN, where train was reported to have sat for at least 45 minutes

1) The US Fish and Wildlife Service assessed this spill, with a verbal report that it was "very bad."

Is "very bad" quantifiable? USFWS verbally said oil was in "small trout stream." Which one?0 If so, what are the figures? Newspaper reports: Tuesday spill, Wednesday 2000 gallons, Thursday, Mpls Tribune reported 12000 gallons of oil spilled. DOT-111 carries max of US 34, 500 gallons. {Reference-Wikipedia article re: DOT-111} Will the oil flow, or has it already gone into the Mississippi River? What area/volume is it in now? When spring thaw comes, where will the oil go? How much oil spilled? What kind of oil is this? Will this affect birds migrating along the Mississippi Flyway?

I'm interested-This needs work before people, wildlife and the Mississippi River suffer irreparable damage.

p.s. ignore copyright-Permission to distribute, show and share is given to anyone who wishes to see spill photo. MLK Feb 11 2014 CP-MN-oil-spill-Weaver-MN.jpg

CP-MN-oil-spill-Weaver-MN.jpg


10 Comments

Marlokeno - thank you for highlighting and documenting this awful looking situation. When did you take the photos? Did you take samples of any of the orange stuff or could you still?

I'd like to help identify it as oil, and the oil testing kit should bg able to help, though its still experimental.

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Hi Marlokeno, Did you go out with a clean/sterile glass or plastic container and take some samples?

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Markdown liz and warren, I took those photos Friday afternoon, February 7, in Weaver MN. The railroad has acknowledged that there was a spill; I've seen figures of 2000-12000 gallons in the local papers and Minneapolis Tribune. I was introduced to this fascinating website yesterday, and still haven't had a chance to explore the possibilities. I did not take any samples-I would have had I known of this testing equipment. The US Fish & Wildlife Service spent a long time out there studying it, on a day when the high temperature was +1 Fahrenheit. They found the "very bad" spill in the trout stream. I couldn't find the trout stream amongst the snow drifts The GPS said I was walking in the Mississippi as I walked along the tracks. ; ) Also, as the spill was Tuesday night, Feb.4, I was doubtful of the value of sampling, because all samples were mixed with snow, and had been sitting in the open for more than 48 hours, so dissolved volatiles like methane would have evaporated and gone with the wind, I thought.. The train kept running as the oil leaked, covering a large surface area of track. I went photographing where it had pulled over to a siding for at least 45 minutes and left the most oil.

So, I ask your advice-is going back for samples worthwhile? The steady diet of subzero weather may have preserved more of the spill's mixture than ordinary. Access is a challenge in the winter, with the deep drifts, still, doable. (The long side tracks, where the train parked, are down a steep embankment from the road here-other places, it goes through towns.) Dealing with railroad security can be a problem. Please, share your opinions or strategies, especially if you've been in a similar situation. Any oil sample will have snow and/or dirt mixed into it.

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Well, it's your call -- it'd be great to test some residue and we've worked with tarballs from crude that've been sitting on beaches for weeks in the sun; we're testing mostly for the non volatile residues like PAHs. Snow and dirt can be separated out. But it sounds like quite a challenge to get out there.

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I just realized Stevie and I were in Winona back in June-- I wish I'd remembered to look you up. We'll be back in wisconsin in the fall-- I'll stay in touch.

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Hello @marlokeno - would you be willing to post a version of the top photo without a copyright symbol? We would be very interested in using it in an upcoming project, and will of course link back to this post for attribution.

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Sure- I'm slow with photos these days; when the malware destroyed my computer, I got the files back ok; but I lost my indexing stuff. Redoing that is harder than recovering the files from the HDD. I have some to retrieve for Stevie & Mathew, too. So if I'm a little slow, you know why.

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Hi, Mary! We're working on a publication about oil spills and such, and wanted to use your above image. Even if you don't find a copy without the copyright mark, would you be all right allowing us to use it in this publication, and cropping out the mark? (we can put the mark in the caption)

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Hi Jeff! Use, crop the picture, whatever works best for the publication. You can crop it if you want it right away, or if that is the simplest. I don't have it right away, so go ahead with whatever works best.

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Thanks, Mary! The report is almost complete; it's here: https://publiclab.org/wiki/diy-oil-testing

We'll be announcing it soon :-)

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