This photo provided by the Maine Forest Service shows several locomotives and rail cars burning after a freight train derailed, Saturday, April 15, 2023, in Sandwich Academy Grant Township, near Rockwood, Maine. Three workers were treated and released from a hospital, and Canadian Pacific Railway will be leading the cleanup and track repair, according to officials. Credit: Maine Forest Service / AP

Engine diesel fuel from the train derailment in rural Somerset County Saturday is reportedly leaking into a nearby stream and Brassua Lake.

The fuel spilled from the locomotives when three engines and six cars of a Canadian Pacific Kansas City freight train derailed about 15 miles east of Jackman near Rockwood.

That fuel has saturated the soil around the derailment and is leaking into the nearby stream and lake, as evidenced by the sheen on the water, said an environmental professional at the scene who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for their employer.

A company spokesperson said it is using boom and absorbing materials to clean it up, but the environmental professional said that isn’t enough. The soil would normally be dug up and removed.

“My concern now is that diesel is flowing from the site into the water and they are not using the most practical and effective means to clean it up,” the professional said.

The company spokesperson and the professional did not know how much diesel spilled nor when cleanup will be completed. The cleanup is being done in coordination with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

CPKC responded quickly to the derailment, which investigators believe was caused by a track washout. It trucked in gravel to cover about 2 1/2 miles of a bumpy logging road leading to the derailment, a forestry department spokesperson said. Several cars derailed and burned, but the fire was extinguished by Sunday.

CPKC said it reopened the tracks on Monday morning after repairs and safety inspections. Four of the cars that derailed were carrying lumber and electrical wiring. They caught fire but were quickly extinguished. Two cars carrying drums of pentamethylheptane and ethanol — both hazardous materials — derailed but were not involved in the fire. There were no leaks or spills from those cars, the company said.

The railroad is solely responsible for working with state and local entities on cleanup, a Federal Railroad Administration spokesperson said. The administration sent personnel to the site to identify a probable cause and contributing factors to the derailment.

Lori Valigra, senior reporter for economy and business, holds an M.S. in journalism from Boston University. She was a Knight journalism fellow at M.I.T. and has extensive international reporting experience...