January 27, 2016 | La Crosse Tribune |BROWNSVILLE, Minn. – A Canadian Pacific freight train derailed Tuesday night in Houston County, Minn., sending six cars into the Mississippi River and spilling food-grade oil into the water.
The southbound train derailed around 10 p.m. about three miles south of Brownsville. There were no injuries reported.
CP spokesman Andy Cummings said a small amount of sodium chlorate powder spilled from one of the 15 derailed cars but none of the chemical reached the river.
Primarily used in a bleaching agent for the pulp and paper industry, sodium chlorate can cause fire or explosions when mixed with other materials, according to the manufacturer.
It could kill algae and other aquatic plants if spilled into the river, said Mark Sandheinrich, a professor of biology and director of the River Studies Center at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.