Cleanup of coal train derailment in Virginia swamp could take weeks

The cleanup of a coal train that derailed in Virginia’s Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge will likely take weeks, according to wildlife officials. The train, carrying 36 cars of 3,600 tons of sand-like coal, went off the tracks on June 25, impacting 2.3 acres of swamp. A spokesperson for Norfolk Southern, who owns the tracks, said that the removal of the damaged tracks and rail cars from the refuge would take two to three weeks.

There is concern over the impact that the spilled coal will have on the wildlife in the refuge, as well as the fragile peat soil. Coal can contain a toxic mix of heavy metals including lead, mercury, nickel, tin and arsenic.