I managed to get out to Ellicott City again today. The water and riverbed near the bridge look OK to my less than expert eyes. It appears that any coal has been cleared away, and the contamination barrier that I showed in a previous blog entry has been removed. There is much foot traffic on the river bridge that is adjacent to the bridge where the train derailed, likely throughout the day. Here are the photos I took today.
Some readers, who saw the original aerial photographs of the derailment site, with the overturned coal cars, will recognize this site. It is beyond the bridge on the south side of the river. In fact, it is very near the river, just up a small hill behind some trees in an area that gets less attention.
This sign is another bit of CSX irony. Ellicott City residents and visitors, who ventured up to this site could clearly read this sign behind a fence. It is a no dumping sign, which is surrounded by coal on the ground.
Here is another photo of the coal spill at the derailment site. This view is looking down the track, in the direction of the bridge where the train derailment occured, but the bridge may not be visilble in this picture.
This photo shows more vinyl plastic barriers behind the coal. These barriers are likely intended to prevent coal contamination from running down the hill and into the river water. It is not difficult the imagine that heavy rains could easily overcome these barriers.
A casual observer, such as myself, cannot get easy access to all the areas where coal was spilled. For example, this area was protected by a chain link fence and no trespassing signs. I got clear shots through and over the fence.
I read today that CSX has spent 2 million dollars on the clean up so far. Hopefully, their efforts will continue, including in areas that are seldom seen by Ellicott City residents and visitors. It is crucial to protect the precious waters of the Patapsco River and the nearby Patapsco State Park.