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Normal Fire Department: No hazard in Sugar Creek water

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NORMAL — Some residents in Normal have noticed a strange coloring in the water of Sugar Creek, but officials say there is no risk.

“We wanted to pass along some information as soon as we could to help alleviate concerns regarding the strange coloring in the water of Sugar Creek downstream from the train derailment,” the Normal Fire Department said in a statement released Sunday afternoon.

“The material has been identified as non-toxic water-soluble paint that was in one of the trailers that was involved in the fire,” officials said. “A coordinated effort between Union Pacific Railroad, Bloomington-Normal Water Reclamation District, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Normal Fire Department officials resulted in all appropriate measures being taken to identify the substance and ensure that it was not hazardous.”

Cause of Normal apartment fire still under investigation

The fire department used extra water Saturday during a fire at Sugar Creek Apartments. Because of the extremely cold temperatures, any stoppage in the flow of water would cause water to turn to ice, making it impossible to fight the fire. It took two hours to bring the fire under control.

The Bloomington-Normal Water Reclamation District has already sampled and tested the water and found no hazards to life. The EPA has already been notified as well, and there are no concerns for environmental impacts, officials said.

A train derailed in Uptown Normal at about 5 a.m. on Feb. 13, 2021.

“Attempts were made to put a boom across the creek to stop the flow downstream, but since the creek was frozen, the pigments flowed downstream under the ice.”

The coloring will dissipate, and there is no risk to life or the water supply. The water and the ice and snow surrounding the creek may remain discolored until it has a chance to thaw, but there is no life or environmental hazard.

The Normal Fire Department also responded to a fire in uptown Normal Sunday morning after one of the cars involved in a Saturday morning derailment had caught fire.

Temperatures are expected to remain below freezing all week. The first chance for temperatures to climb above 32 degrees is next weekend, according to the National Weather Service in Lincoln.

Photos: Train derailment south of Uptown Normal

Contact Kevin Barlow at (309) 820-3238. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_barlow


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Investigators are still searching for a cause to Saturday’s morning train derailment in uptown Normal, which damaged at least 16 cargo cars on a Union Pacific train. Cleanup and repair on the track will continue this week, but one of the two lines is now open and trains have been moving through town.

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