Train derailment near Dubuque spills ethanol into Mississippi River


...(Jeff Dzadon/Flickr)
A train bridge that crosses the Mississippi River near Dubuque, Iowa. (Jeff Dzadon/Flickr)

Nick Fetty | February 6, 2015

A train derailed Wednesday causing ethanol to be spilled on half an acre of land and one acre of ice on the Mississippi River, according to the Dubuque Telegraph Herald.

The 81-car train was traveling eastbound about 10 miles north of Dubuque when the derailment occurred around 11:30 a.m. Fourteen of the 15 cars that derailed contained ethanol and three of the cars started on fire. An additional three cars fell into the river which was covered with ice. No injuries were reported. The steep terrain made it difficult for clean up crews to reach crash site in rural Dubuque County.

When ethanol mixes with water in high concentration it can deplete oxygen levels and lead to fish kills. Rescue crews are attempting to thaw the ice where the ethanol spilled in order to remove any environmental threats. The Department of Natural Resources plans on testing the water near to spill to ensure the safety of the aquatic wildlife in the area.

A spokesman with Canadian Pacific said DOT-111’s were the model of cars involved in the crash though he could not comment on exactly how many of the cars were the DOT-111 model. Critics have said the DOT-111 models are prone to puncturing and have been involved in other crashes and spills around the country. DOT-111’s are known to make up approximately 70 percent of the fleet in train cars in the United States.  The U.S. Department of Transportation proposed a two-year phase out of the DOT-111’s last July.

Aflockalypse Now? Thousands of Dead Red-winged Blackbirds in Arkansas may have come from Iowa


 

If this red-winged blackbird could read news reports, it might decide to stay out of the South...and Sweden. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

The thousands of red-winged blackbirds that turned up dead on New Year’s Eve in Beebe Arkansas may have originated in Iowa, the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald reports:

Iowa’s red-winged blackbirds commonly migrate south, where they live in communal roosts numbering hundreds of thousands or even millions of birds.

The Arkansas incident, coupled with subsequent mass bird deaths in Louisiana and now Sweden have puzzled and captivated news consumers across the country and the globe.  Continue reading