PAULSBORO, N.J. (CBS) – U.S. Coast Guard officials said Thursday that pumping operations on the breached rail car have been completed, which is a step in the right direction for still-evacuated residents in Paulsboro.

The Unified Command said that product mixture pumping operations were completed on the breached rail car at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

A thorough cleaning was performed at 7:40 a.m. on Thursday to eliminate any remaining liquid from the breached rail car. A barge is being moved into place on the Mantua Creek and other tankers carrying vinyl chloride will have to be checked and then moved out by the barge.

Teams are employing sonar technology to pinpoint the location of any underwater debris and document the site underwater.

“We are making progress with the safe and efficient cleanup operations at the Paulsboro derailment. That safe progress brings us closer to returning evacuees to their homes,” said Capt. Kathy Moore, the Coast Guard incident commander. “Our priority remains the safety of everyone involved – members of the community, federal, state and local officials, and the work crews and technical experts onsite at the derailment.”

Evacuation orders remain in place until Sunday, December. 9th.

Anyone who has been impacted by the derailment can call the 24-hour community assistance hotline at 1-800-230-7049 for help.

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