'Fearing catastrophe': Dangerous goods on derailed train
Despite an estimated 8000 litres of diesel leaking from a derailed train this morning, emergency services believe it could have been much worse.
Among the carriages of the freight train, stretching almost 1500 metres long, were five containing dangerous goods including aerosols, resins, paints and contaminated waste water.
Zone Commander for Mid North Coast Fire and Rescue superintendent Rod Chetwynd said crews had recently confirmed the five carriages of concern were "upright and undamaged" on the track.
"We were fearing catastrophe this morning because of the dangerous goods and the possible threat to the environment," he said.
"But luckily the gods of the emergency services are on our side and kept those containers upright."
Mr Chetwynd said while it looked like a lot of the fuel had settled in the general area, the Environmental Protection Agency were already on site and taking precautionary measures to prevent spread of the diesel into the waterways.
Fearing the potential for contamination and on advice from the EPA, Clarence Valley Council have told anyone who sources water from the Orara River to "wait for further advice regarding river quality."
Because of the remote nature of the crash site and the localised flooding, getting people and equipment into the area is expected to continue to hamper the recovery effort.
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Mr Chetwynd said even communication with those at the area was proving hard and he couldn't put a time frame on how long it would take to clean up.
"We really don't know how long this is going to go for. It is going to be completely dependent of weather.
"The carriages that have derailed and the locomotive on its side (is) in flooded paddocks of a farm on private land up there."