cms829

West Branch Delaware - Train Derailment with fuel spill

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Posted (edited)

Terrible news this morning.  A Train derailed due to flash flooding in the area of Hale Eddy.   Thankfully no injuries but there are two cars in the water and they're estimating much of the 4000 gallons of fuel has leaked into the river.   As per friends in the are the entire area stinks of diesel fuel all the way down the Main stem.   Slicks have been seen as far down as long eddy and likely extend much further.  

 

The west crested last night around 6000 CFS at the Hale Eddy Gauge.  The high water is making any type of containment unlikely.  Most of the fuel is likely far downriver by now, and collected in eddy's and such.

 

Everyone keep your fingers crossed for little to no impact on the wildlife.   Just caught a nice brown under where the derailment is this past Sunday.

Edited by cms829

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Heard about that. I was just there last week. Feel for the lodges, guides, small businesses and the residents out there...

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Heard about that. I was just there last week. Feel for the lodges, guides, small businesses and the residents out there...

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Posted (edited)

Hoping the high water minimizes impact by increasing dilution 10 fold.

 

How did you do last week Kim?   We floated barking dog to Shehawkin Sunday.  Had an "ok" day considering the temps. We caught on streamers nymphs and dries.  Weekend prior was slow going.

Edited by cms829

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10 mins ago, cms829 said:

Hoping the high water minimizes impact and increasing dilution 10 fold.

 

How did you do last week Kim?   We floated barking dog to Shehawkin Sunday.  Had an "ok" day considering the temps. We caught on streamers nymphs and dries.  Weekend prior was slow going.

I hope so too...

 

I did alright, picked off fish consistently Saturday and Sunday in the evening but during the day it was spotty. I stayed at the Dreamcatcher this time with a couple friends from Canada and LI and fished their private water and walked a few of the side channels and checked out some other spots. Evening was best for me. Isos and again the small Dorothea emerger/knockdown did well. I arrived last Friday and that band of rain blew out the system so I shopped at WBA met a friend coming up from LI and had luch at the Roscoe Diner. Unsure if I will be going up again this August and fall. I will wait to see what happens with the cleanup effort. Think I will start looking for Bones in RI and MA and do a little sight fishing for stripers before it gets cooler.

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Posted (edited)

Yea we shifted our float from last Saturday to Sunday due to those storms.   When I arrived Sat evening it was still chocolate milk and couldnt get anything to eat at dusk on the spey. 

 

Its been rough mid day.  We had some tiny 20 BWO's coming off spotty throughout the day and were able to get a couple to eat on top.  No sulphurs below Hale.  Noted a few ISO's later in the day down lower.  Early morning was cloudy and foggy and figured we would have had a few more on streamers but we didnt get a single one until right where the few train cars are in the water a few hundred yards above the hale eddy bridge.  I swung up a NICE big fiesty brown at first light while waiting for my buddy to arrive.  Thing took off jumping across like a rainbow.  Didn't bring my net with me as I expected to fish for 2 minutes.  Figures.  He cam unbuttoned as I got him to shore.  

 

After we pulled out early evening I took a ride up to Stilesville and saw lots of anglers standing on the banks looking for risers.  You could see tons of sulphurs coming off from the road but not a thing going on.  Everyone just looking for targets.  I sat in the truck and watched for a few minutes and spotted one rise at the head of a pool.  Grabbed my rod and walked down and watched for like 15 minutes.  He came up another 4-5 times.  Asked if the guy sitting there minded if I took a shot at a fish I had my eye on.   Got in position and he showed himself again.  First cast I wiffed.  Gave him a few minutes.  Showed himself again.  Put my flies right in his lane and he came up and took the 18 BWO cripple I had tailing behind my sulphur.  Everything fell right into place for that fish from spotting him from the road to no one else spotting him from the banks.  I called it a day and drove home with a smile on my face. 

 

Recent update as fer FUDR:  "According to the NYS Office of Emergency Management (NYSDEC), the fuel oil spill to the river will have little to no damaging effects on the river and should dissipate rapidly due to the nature of its composition and the extremely high water flows in the river."

 

Good news. 

Edited by cms829

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To all who fish the Upper D - 

 

"The Department of Environmental Conservation is asking everybody who spends time on or near the river to contact them if they see any evidence of impacts to wildife/habitat or fuel oil build-up, especially in the quiet eddies and pools near the riverbanks. Look for a reddish/brownish sheen on the surface of the river that looks similar to brake fluid or transmission fluid.

Please take a picture of any observed impacts with GPS coordinates and send them to info@fudr.org if you see negative impacts of the spill and we'll forward them to the NYSDEC"

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4000 gallons is less then a swiming pool ...it could have been way worse..imagine if this happened with flows under 450 CFS

 

D

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14 hours ago, davidstrout said:

4000 gallons is less then a swiming pool ...it could have been way worse..imagine if this happened with flows under 450 CFS

 

D

Exactly - and with another 2-4" of rain in the forecast in the next week we couldn't ask for more help from mother nature.  

 

DEC has captured several birds (geese and merganser's) from the immediate spill site that are coated in fuel unfortunately.  I can imagine all of the damn tall slapping beavers are probably saturated.  But aside from trapping I dont see how they can get them to help them out.

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Posted (edited)

Since the WB's been my home river for 30+ yrs, I obviously hate to see it. Hopefully there won't be lasting damage because of high flows and dilution. It's better that it was fuel that floats, rather than a toxic that dissolves.

 

Here''s a good video of the wreck. I've watched it in kinda forensic engineering terms, and think I've got the sequence of what happened, and why. I'm gonna call it a typical scenario/hazard when there's gullywashers, unfortunately.

https://riverreporter.com/news/possible-4000-gallons-diesel-fuel-spills-west-branch-upper-delaware-river

 

For orientation, the train was headed N; the location is just above Hale Eddy. There's 2 places where cars left the tracks. It didn't start where the cars went into the main river, it started where the engines went off. Which is where a steep trib comes in from the E, and hits the valley floor and the stream gradient flattens out, reducing stream velocity. The bigger sediment drops out right there, where there's a culvert that goes under the RR embankment.

 

It's a general location where I had permission to walk to the river. I also had cause to look at the RR culvert for a Rt 17 highway project, from a hydraulic standpoint, because there's a Rt 17 culvert just upstream. That RR culvert is so undersized for both flow and sediment load/transport, especially given the vulnerable location of a big slope change. Water and sediment backed up during the flood, saturated the blank embankment, which eventually failed. The rails were probably already hanging some when the engines went over.

 

That's the typical part. RR's and Interstates often hug a hillside, and culverts aren't sized for 100-yr storms; more like 10-yr-25 yr storms, because it'd be prohibitively expensively to size everything for the really large flows. Who knows how that RR culvert was sized, because it's old...probably from original construction.

 

The Rt 17 project was put on the back burner before I left my firm 5+ yrs ago. But the size of that undersized culvert was discussed in my office with the engineers. I'm pretty sure NYSDOT was informed, don't recall if the RR was. But it's kind of moot, because, but beyond ballast and rail condition, I don't see the RR's doing much other maintenance unless they consider it urgent. Now it's urgent. Unfortunately, that's how it works sometimes, all over the place. Maybe we could use an infrastructure program. :banghd:

 

Sorry, I didn't really intend a rant, but it might have been inevitable anyway.  :howdy:

 

 

Edited by patchyfog

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Posted (edited)

I'm thankful for the high water too and the rain that will wash off the remaining oil from the plant side vegetation the only bright thing of it is hopefully it'll kill some knotweed while I don't consider the West Branch to my home River there's too many people on it these days I do fish the east branch and big stem is my home Rivers.

 

Forgive the illiteracy, dictated from phone.

Edited by DrBob

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Yea I am sure that there are tons of suspect areas along the river that rail conditions are terrible.  

 

****** thing is they confirmed another 400 gallons or so leaked into the river during the removal operations.   Fishermen have reported trout rising up through oil sheen.  There have been several birds captured for rehabilitation by DEC and one confirmed dead canadian goose.   I imagine there are many more animals affected that havent been seen or found.   Its a MASSIVE stretch of river that was affected.  

 

I know everyone is breathing a sigh of relief (myself included) because of the high water, but I have a feeling this may leave a lasting impact for some time. 

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