Cleanup of spilled coal in Great Dismal Swamp to take weeks

Virginia News

FILE – In this Sept. 13, 2017 photo, Chris Lowie, refuge manager of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, gestures as he looks over a historical marker at the location of the town constructed by George Washington in Suffolk, Va. A coal train derailed Tuesday, June 25, 2019, into the refuge in Virginia. The accident is still being cleaned up and has raised concerns about the impact on various forms of wildlife, including endangered species. Lowie said the Norfolk Southern train is “literally right in the middle of the swamp.” (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) – The cleanup of a coal train derailment in Virginia’s Great Dismal Swamp will likely take weeks.

The manager of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge told The Virginian-Pilot on Thursday that he’s been working to make sure that Norfolk Southern gets the necessary permits and access.

Norfolk Southern spokesman Tom Werner said it will take two to three weeks for workers to remove damaged rail cars and tracks from the refuge. The firm then will need to work with various federal and state agencies to restore the 2.3 acres of the swamp that’s been impacted.

The derailment occurred early Tuesday morning. Thirty-six cars carrying 3,600 tons of coal went off the tracks, raising concerns about the impact on wildlife and the swamp’s fragile peat soil.

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