Hazardous materials travel through Kent by train on a regular basis. While these trains usually pass through safely, a single derailment could cause some major issues.
While the Kent Fire Department knows what hazardous materials come through the city, they do not know when those materials are being transported. Lieutenant Craig Peeps says the department has a plan in place just in case this situation occurs.
However, the Fire Department does not know what’s being transported until the team arrives on the scene of a derailment.
Kent’s railroad tracks are located along the Cuyahoga River. If a derailed tank were to leak, it could seep the river as well as the groundwater where our drinking water comes from.
Because this has become a nation-wide concern, Congress recently passed a bill called the FAST Act. It requires Class I railroads (railroads that have an operating revenue of about $430 million or more) to estimate how much material as well as when and what counties it will be transported through in advance.
The FAST Act is to be implemented by December of this year.
The city of Kent also has multiple safety measures set in place to protect its citizens during emergencies. This includes having back-up water sources for Kent’s drinking water.