Railroad company Norfolk Southern Corp. agreed to pay $4 million to settle charges it violated the Clean Water Act when chlorine gas and diesel fuel spilled during a derailment that killed nine people, the U.S. government said.
A Norfolk Southern train derailed on Jan. 6, 2005, in South Carolina, leading to the puncture of a chlorine tank car and the spill of diesel fuel from the locomotive engine fuel tanks, the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency said.
In addition to the nine people dead from the exposure to the chlorine, hundreds of others sought care because of respiratory distress and more than 5,000 others were evacuated from homes and businesses.
“Companies have a responsibility to workers, emergency responders and the community to make sure a serious accident doesn’t become a senseless tragedy,” Stan Meiburg, the acting regional administrator for the EPA, said in a statement.
Norfolk Southern said in a statement that it did not “admit any liability nor any of the facts alleged in the complaint, and it resolves all claims brought” by the Justice Department.
As part of the consent decree, the company also agreed to provide training to transportation and environmental personnel and restock fish in a pond affected by the spill, among other things, according to the federal agencies. (Reuters)