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No environmental impacts seen in Alma ethanol spill

ALMA, Wis. — Samples of water affected by Saturday's derailment and ethanol spill show no risk to aquatic life.

BNSF Railway spokeswoman Amy McBeth said Tuesday that the tracks at the site of the accident north of Alma had returned to service Tuesday morning. According to McBeth's statement, the railway is working with the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to conduct the water samples.

Up to 20,000 gallons of ethanol spilled into the Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge before BNSF crews were able to contain the five affected tank cars. According to the release, the lab analysis of the water samples taken Saturday and Sunday showed levels of ethanol and denaturing agents below the standards harmful for aquatic life.

"We are collecting additional samples for ongoing monitoring and analyses, and we'll continue working with the federal and state agencies if any additional actions are needed at some point," McBeth said in the statement.

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