Weeks, Coast Guard, others help in train derailment response

PAULSBORO, N.J. - Just over a week ago, a train here derailed while crossing the East Jefferson Street bridge, with seven cars falling off the tracks and into Mantua Creek and causing a hazardous chemical spill that sickened dozens of local residents. Today, the response effort continues, with Weeks Marine crane barges and Coast Guard support among those rolling up their sleeves to remove the cars and contain the hazardous chemicals.

All told, some 243 response experts continued work over the weekend to remove debris and prepare the site for rail car removal.

Wooden pilings and debris from the rail cars and bridge need to be cleared before the tank cars can be removed. Weeks has been using crane barges to assist with object removal. You can follow the site-clearing progress at www.PaulsboroResponse.com. There are a number of photos and text updates.

Vinyl chloride has not been detected since Thursday, Dec. 6. So far, air monitors have tested 262 homes and 23 businesses Friday and Saturday, which allowed more than 329 families and business owners to return to their homes and businesses, according to a Coast Guard press release.

The evacuation order has been lifted for all but approximately 30 people who live along the creek near the derailment site where heavy equipment is staged and responders continue to work.

Active air monitoring continues to be conducted throughout the area with nine fixed units and two mobile teams.