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Derailed Train in Yellowstone River Contains Pollutants

By: Yiran Liu

Carrying dangerous material, a train was recently derailed in the Yellowstone River in Montana. This resulted in several trains falling into the Yellowstone River and the collapse of the railroad portion of the Yellowstone Twin River Bridges. It is still unsure which event led to the other: the derailment causing the bridge's failure or the collapse triggering the derailing.

Three of the derailed trains contained hot asphalt, four were carrying molten sulfur, and two impacted railcars were also carrying sodium hydro sulfate, a harmful substance that luckily, did not enter the river, according to Montana Rail Link. “Drinking water in Yellowstone County is not currently affected,” KC Williams, the director of Emergency Management for Yellowstone County said.

This event occurred on Saturday, June 24, around 6:45 a.m. when the train was traveling west. The impact resulted in some cars also falling into the river. The cause is still unidentified and is under investigation. Residents told ABC News that the river’s water level rose after heavy rainfall. "It’s completely muddy, so it’s bringing a lot of material down with it," said John Counter, who lives roughly two miles from the collapsed bridge. "It’s running full banks right now."

Due to the incident at Twin Bridges Road, some public access points to the Yellowstone and Stillwater Rivers between Reed Point and Columbus have been closed for safety reasons. The authorities are cautioning people to stay away from certain areas of the Yellowstone River as there might be harmful substances present. Although there are no approaching dangers to Yellowstone County, some residents are worried about the security of their primary water source after the recent incident.

Despite this event, people are trying their best to restore the bridge and remove water contaminants. The overall destruction to the water pollution and the construction of the bridge was not severe and can be restored.

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