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Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund

Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations

Western Pacific Railroad Co.

EPA #: CAD980894679

State: California(CA)

County: Butte

City: Oroville

Congressional District: 02

Other Names: Western Pacific Railroad Roundhouse Facility and Yard

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Description and History

NPL Listing History

NPL Status: Deleted

Proposed Date: 10/26/89

Final Date: 08/30/90

Deleted Date: 08/29/01

The 90-acre Western Pacific Railroad Co. site located near Oroville operated as a rail yard from 1920 until 1982. On the eastern portion of the site, in the Fueling Area, the railroad company fueled, repaired, serviced, and cleaned rail cars. Specific activities included sandblasting, welding, cutting, and fabricating. As a result of these activities, waste solvents, oils, grease, and wastewaters containing heavy metals were discharged from the fueling area to an unlined surface impoundment until 1987. This impoundment, which was on the western portion of the site, was cleaned up by the current owner, Union Pacific Railroad Co., in 1989 in response to an order issued by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (CRWQCB). A concrete tank containing an unknown, oily-like substance also was located on site. Fuel-contaminated soil was located on the site. Four California Water Service Company (CWS) wells are located within three miles of the site. Water from the wells is blended with water from the Feather River to serve the company's 10,000 customers. One of the wells is located on the site and is leased by Union Pacific RR to CWS.

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Contaminants and Risks

Contaminated Media
  • Groundwater
  • Soil and Sludges

Groundwater on site was contaminated with various volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The surface impoundment was contaminated with heavy metals including arsenic, lead, and chromium. Potential health threats to people included drinking contaminated groundwater or accidentally ingesting contaminated soil. Surface soil in the Fueling Area is contaminated with low levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The soil meets cleanup levels established in the 1997 ROD.

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Who is Involved

This site was deleted from the National Priorities List (NPL) on August 29, 2001.

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Investigation and Cleanup Activities

The site was addressed in two stages: immediate actions and a long-term remedial phase focusing on cleanup of the entire site.

Remedy Selected

EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) in 1997; the selected remedy was excavation and off-site disposal of surface soils in a one acre area. The remedy also includes institutional controls to ensure that future land use remains industrial. EPA issued a Remedial Action Order on June 17, 1998, requiring Union Pacific Railroad Company (UPRR) to implement the selected remedy. In 2001 UPRR negotiated the long-term institutional controls with the State of California Department of Toxic Substances Control.

Cleanup Complete

UPRR installed a groundwater pump-and-treat system in 1994 in order to prevent groundwater contamination from spreading. In early 1997 UPRR installed a second groundwater extraction well with a soil vapor extraction (SVE) unit to remove 1,1-DCE from the groundwater and soil. By the fall of 1997 contaminants in the groundwater dropped below cleanup levels. The groundwater extraction system was turned off in 1999 and the SVE system was turned off in November 2000.

In July 1998 UPRR removed contaminated soil from the fueling area and backfilled the area with clean fill. The contaminated soil was shipped by rail to a landfill in Utah. In March 2001 UPRR filed a deed restriction with the Butte County Recorder which restricts future use of the property to industrial uses only.

Deletion from the National Priorities List: EPA has determined, and the state concurs, that no further response action is appropriate under CERCLA. The site was deleted from the National Priorities List (NPL) on August 29, 2001.

To review the Administrative Record file for the Western Pacific Railroad Co. site, please feel free to call the Superfund Records Center at (415) 536-2000 or check with the site repositories listed below. The Administrative Record is EPA's official collection of data, reports and other information that the EPA considered or relied on in making its decision on the selection of a removal or remedial action for cleaning up the site.

EPA will conduct five-year reviews at the site to ensure that the property is used for commercial and industrial purposes only, as the contamination on site was not cleaned up to allow for residential use. The first five-year review report was released in 2003. The second five-year review report was released in 2008. The third five-year review report was released in 2013.

In 1989, the State issued a Cleanup and Abatement Order to Union Pacific and Solano Railcar, the potentially responsible parties, requiring them to sample abandoned water supply wells to determine the best way to seal them, to install a water separator to collect runoff from locomotives, and to install equipment to prevent runoff. In 1993, Union Pacific signed an agreement with the EPA to clean up the VOC-contaminated water. In 1994, Union Pacific signed an agreement with the EPA to complete the soil analysis and baseline risk assessment. In 1997 EPA issued a ROD; the selected remedy was excavation of contaminated soil in the Fueling Area in conjunction with long-term institutional controls limiting the use of the property to industrial use only. In 1998 EPA issued a Remedial Action Order requiring Union Pacific Railroad to excavate the contaminated soil and to put some land use restrictions in place.

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Cleanup Results to Date

The groundwater and soil vapor extraction treatment system cleaned up the VOC plume. In 1998 contaminated soil was removed from the Fueling Area. That area is now clean enough for commercial and industrial activities to take place. It is not clean enough for residential use.

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Potentially Responsible Parties

Potentially responsible parties (PRPs) refers to companies that are potentially responsible for generating, transporting, or disposing of the hazardous waste found at the site.

The responsible party at this site continues to be Union Pacific Railroad.

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Documents and Reports

Show details for Fact SheetsFact Sheets
Show details for Records of DecisionRecords of Decision
Show details for Technical DocumentsTechnical Documents

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Community Involvement

Public Meetings:

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Public Information Repositories

The public information repositories for the site are at the following locations:

Butte County Public Library,
1820 Mitchell Avenue
Oroville, California
(916) 538-7641

The most complete collection of documents is the official EPA site file, maintained at the following location:

Superfund Records Center

Mail Stop SFD-7C

95 Hawthorne Street, Room 403

San Francisco, CA 94105

(415) 820-4700

Enter main lobby of 75 Hawthorne street, go to 4th floor of South Wing Annex.

Additional Links

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EPA Site Manager
Holly Hadlock
US EPA Region 9
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
David Yogi
US EPA Region 9
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Public Information Center
State Contact
PRP Contact
Lauren Mancuso
Community Contact
Other Contacts
After Hours (Emergency Response)
(800) 424-8802

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