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Cleanup of Spilled Coal in Great Dismal Swamp to Take Weeks

The coal isn't harmful on its own. But its heavy metals could leach out in the swamp's highly acidic water and threaten turtles, snakes, frogs and small fish

Train Derailment Dismal Swamp
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.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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