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EPA Orders Union Pacific to Complete Omaha Lead Site Soil Cleanup Work

Release Date: 12/16/2005
Contact Information:
Environmental News
Debbie Kring
(913) 551-7725

kring.debbie@epa.gov


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 16, 2005

EPA ORDERS UNION PACIFIC TO COMPLETE OMAHA LEAD SITE SOIL CLEANUP WORK

EPA has issued a unilateral administrative order requiring the Union Pacific Railroad Co. to complete ongoing soil cleanup work at the Omaha Lead Site in Omaha, NE effective today.

EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford said the regional office in Kansas City, Kan., is issuing the order to protect the health of children in the Omaha area. EPA is committed to making sure that 9,000 young children are protected from lead exposure in eastern Omaha yards.

Gulliford said, “As kids play in their yards and neighborhoods, EPA wants to make sure parents have the peace of mind that comes with a clean environment . This is why we worked hard to ensure a timely cleanup in the Omaha area.”

EPA has cleaned up more than 1,000 residential properties this year. EPA cleanup costs in Omaha will total more than $50 million by the end of the 2005 construction season. Cleaning up local neighborhoods is an EPA priority as high levels of lead can cause serious health problems.

EPA issued the administrative order to Union Pacific March 31, but the order has been amended eight times in an effort to pursue a negotiated settlement. The order becomes effective today without a settlement.

Lead contamination of the surrounding areas occurred when Asarco operated a lead refinery in Omaha for about 127 years. Union Pacific owned the facility during part of that time, and ownership made them a potentially responsible party under the Superfund law. Asarco recently filed for bankruptcy. EPA is continuing to gather information to see if additional potentially responsible parties can be identified.

 


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Learn more about lead in the environment at
http://www.epa.gov/lead