Some 180 tons of bitumen and solvent spilled after a Belarusian freight train carrying the materials derailed in Latvia on January 8, the Baltic country's news website delfi.lt said with reference to a representative of a local legislature.
Aleksandrs Aizbalts, deputy executive director of the Daugavpils regional legislature, said that the spill had caused considerable harm to the environment.
If emergency management workers fail to remove the soil infiltrated by the leaked bitumen and solvent quickly, the materials can contaminate groundwater, which is used by residents of a local town, he warned.
Sixteen cars of the Ventspils-bound train derailed at around 10:10 p.m. Three of the cars were damaged, with bitumen leaking from two of them and solvent from the third one.
Emergency management workers built sand barriers around the scene to contain the spill, which was said to have affected an area of 4,000 square meters.
Efforts were expected to begin on January 9 to lift the cars back onto the tracks. Rail traffic on the railroad section between Daugavpils and Kraslava remained paralyzed on Monday afternoon.