Train Wreck, Chemical Spill Perilously Close to Eastern Idaho Fish Hatchery 

click to enlarge American Falls Fish Hatchery - IDAHO STATE UNIVERSTIY
  • Idaho State Universtiy
  • American Falls Fish Hatchery


Officials at an eastern Idaho fish hatchery, which raises hundreds of thousands of rainbow trout, said the facility skirted disaster Feb. 10 when dozens of freight train cars derailed only 100 yards away, spilling thousands of tons of soda ash. 

Emergency crews in nearby American Falls are still cautioning the public to steer clear of the area, because the soda ash can cause major irritation to the eyes and lungs. Power County officials insisted late Wednesday they're not worried about potential contamination.

This morning's Idaho State Journal reports the derailment could have been even worse if it "had occurred during a rainstorm and the soda ash soaked into the area's groundwater." Officials with Union Pacific Railroad said no injuries were reported from the scene of the wreck. Hazmat teams remained on the scene through most of the day Wednesday. 

KIDK-TV reports Union Pacific will check the tracks again Thursday morning and reopen the rail line as soon as possible. The process could take anywhere from 24 to 36 hours.

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