Six train cars derailed near Rockwood on April 15, starting a small forest fire. The letter the state sent to Canadian Pacific Kansas City on Thursday was the second time regulators have told the company to improve its efforts to address environmental concerns at the site. Jackman-Moose River Fire and Rescue Department photo

A railroad’s cleanup from a recent derailment in northern Maine has caused “a large amount of sediment” to be released into nearby streams, prompting state regulators to notify the company it has broken anti-pollution rules.

The Maine Forest Service and the Land Use Planning Commission issued the notice to Canadian Pacific Kansas City on Thursday, and the Department of Environmental Protection sent a letter to the railroad the same day laying out the findings. Officials said vehicles and gear used to reach the accident site pushed sediment into state waters, degrading their quality and violating the state’s Pollution Control Law.

“The use of heavy equipment traveling on the forest management roads has crushed culverts and displaced soil in and adjacent to several streams,” Maine Department of Environment Protection Commissioner Melanie Loyzim said in the letter, adding that despite requests from the state, no attempts have been made to stabilize roads and stream crossings.

“CPKC must immediately take measures to stabilize the access roads leading to the derailment site, stabilize all stream and culvert crossings, and prevent further discharges of sediment to waters of the state of Maine,” Loyzim said, stressing that the issue is urgent because the weather forecast shows significant rain over the next few days.

This is the latest development since a CPKC freight train carrying lumber and hazardous materials went off the tracks on April 15 near Rockwood in Somerset County. Six cars derailed, sending three people to the hospital and starting a small forest fire.

Thursday’s notice of violation marks the second time the state has notified the rail company to improve its cleanup efforts.


In a letter to the company last week, the state told CPKC it “failed to meet department expectations regarding timing and response of clean-up activities in order to effectively mitigate impacts to the environment and public health,” after spilling 500 gallons of diesel fuel that leaked into local waterways. The state said last week that Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife staff didn’t find any immediate impacts from the spill.

The two cars carrying toxic chemicals, which did not derail, leak or catch fire but were directly next to burning cars were removed from the site last Thursday, according to the state, five days after the incident.

CPKC has reported recovering 3,150 gallons of fluid including oil, water and diesel from the area, as well as oil-contaminated materials with a staff of 60 emergency spill responders and environmental professionals. Waste has been transported away from the site in plastic-lined equipment.

The Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Maine Forest Service, and staff from the Land Use Planning Commission have been overseeing the cleanup. The Department of Environmental Protection said its staff will remain on the site this week.

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