WEST SACRAMENTO – The City of West Sacramento is trying to fight back after a new business moved in without any notice.
But it's not just any business, it's a row of hazmat tanker cars.
The company is offloading railroad tanker cars filled with flammable liquids along Old River Road – and that has many people worried about a fire or explosion.
"These are flammable materials. If there were to be a derailment there could be a serious fire," said Aaron Laurel, West Sacramento's city manager.
Placards indicate the railcars are filled with diesel fuel. Each tanker can carry around 28,000 gallons of liquid.
"These aren't small volumes of product, it's enough to be very concerned," Laurel said.
Laurel says the railcar offloading operation appeared in December along Old River Road, less than 2,000 feet away from homes.
"That is our foremost concern … the protection of those residents and that neighborhood," Laurel said.
People who live nearby have concerns.
"It could damage a lot of stuff if that spill came up," one resident said.
The tankers are also next to the Sacramento River – and West Sacramento's only water treatment plant.
Hazmat railcars are getting more scrutiny following last year's train derailment in Ohio.
"The environmental effects alone would be disastrous," Laurel said.
CBS13 reached out to Top Rail Solutions, the company running the operation, for comment. A representative says they are taking biodiesel fuel out of the railcars and pumping it into big rigs, which then transport it to gas stations across the region for use in cars and trucks.
But West Sacramento officials say it's operating without any city approval or permits – and they've sent the company two "cease and desist" notices.
"This is not allowed in our city," Laurel said.
Top Rail says "trans-loading" operations like this fall under federal railroad regulations and are not required to get any local permits.
But now neighbors here are hoping these rail cars roll out of town.
"They should take that stuff somewhere else where it's not so close to the neighborhood," another resident said.
The city says it could take legal action if the company continues. Top Rail says it is looking at moving the railcar operation to another part of West Sacramento.
for more features.