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Crude oil transported through Southwest Virginia after oil spill

Crude oil transported through Southwest Virginia after oil spill (Image 1) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - For 11 days in February, millions of gallons of Baakan Crude Oil were rerouted to travel through the Roanoke and New River valleys.

But unlike years past, emergency crews and governments knew it was happening beforehand.

Shipments were rerouted after a major train derailment and oil spill in Mount Carbon, West Virginia in the middle of February.

According to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, CSX contracted with Norfolk Southern to temporarily run crude oil shipments through Southwest Virginia while the main line was repaired.

That happened between February 16 and February 27.

VDEM estimates four to six shipments ran during that time with each carrying at least 1 million gallons of Baakan Crude Oil.

But unlike years past, a new policy made sure communities were made aware.

After the June 2014 derailment in Lynchburg, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued an emergency order requiring companies to disclose where the trains are and what they're carrying. 

That information was passed to VDEM who shared it with local governments.

"I give VDEM credit," said Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill. "They let us know right away so our hazardous materials folks and our fire folks were well aware of what it is and the amount so they could be prepared for it."

Montgomery County Emergency Coordinator Neal Turner said they were told through a conference call with VDEM.

Turner said they were on a "heightened sense of alert" if an accident were to occur.

It's information that helps in an emergency, that luckily wasn't needed this time.