Members of the Alexandria City Council are calling on Norfolk Southern to notify them of any problems at a hazardous waste facility on the city's West End.
Norfolk Southern officials say they were just following protocol last week, when 150 gallons of liquid ethanol spilled as it was being transported from rail cars to tanker trucks last week. Liquid ethanol is a class 3 hazardous substance, so the railroad notified federal and state officials. They did not, however, get around to calling the Alexandria Fire Department until more than an hour later.
"We have an emergency plan for this kind of event. It worked correctly," says Norfolk Southern spokesman Robin Chapman. "The spilled material was fully contained, and it was cleaned up appropriately. There was no emergency that required the presence of the fire department."
Now Alexandria City Manager Rashad Young is calling on Norfolk Southern to notify the city immediately if any accident occurs at the facility, which is only a few feet away from an elementary school.
"Should there have really been a significant issue, we would presume they would hopefully dial the universal number for help, 911, which is what we want to encourage them to do in the future," says Young.
City leaders are hoping to schedule a meeting with railroad executives in the next few weeks.