Water violations to cost railroad company $1.5 million

Sponsored by

DENVER, CO, Feb. 9, 2012 -- U.S. EPA and Union Pacific Railroad Company have reached a settlement resolving a Clean Water Act enforcement action against Union Pacific that involves continuing operations at 20 rail yards in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, as well as spills of oil and coal in 2003 and 2004 along railroad lines in all three states.

For the railyards, EPA alleges Union Pacific violated EPA's Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) and Facility Response Plan (FRP) regulations. These regulations are the first line of defense for preventing oil spills and providing immediate containment measures when an oil spill does occur.

"Today we have secured a settlement that will help prevent spills, protect water quality, and improve the safety of Union Pacific's operations in 20 communities across Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming," said Jim Martin, EPA regional administrator. "Union Pacific has already begun putting necessary measures in place and we will ensure they continue to do so."

As part of the settlement, Union Pacific will pay a civil penalty of $1.5 million of which approximately $1.4 million will be deposited into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, a fund used by federal agencies to respond to oil spills. The remaining $100,000 will be deposited in the U.S. Treasury for the coal spills and stormwater violations. In addition, the settlement requires the company to develop a management and reporting system to ensure compliance with SPCC regulations, FRP regulations, and storm water requirements at 20 rail yards in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Union Pacific must take further actions to control stormwater runoff at the Burnham Rail Yard in Denver, which are anticipated to prevent the discharge of approximately 2,500 pounds of chemical oxygen demand, 50 pounds of nitrate, 11,000 pounds of total suspended solids, and 30 pounds of zinc annually to waters in the Denver area.

This settlement will benefit many communities in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, many of which are disadvantaged, by requiring Union Pacific to install secondary containment to safely store oil and prevent oil spills from leaving its properties. Further, it will require the company to designate an environmental vice-president responsible for complying with oil spill prevention and stormwater control requirements at the 20 railyards. The majority of the 20 locations cited in the settlement are in disadvantaged areas with significant low-income and/ or minority populations.

The complaint alleges the following violations:

• Six oil spills in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming
• Three coal spills in Colorado
• Inadequate SPCC plans and/or inadequate SPCC plan implementation (e.g., inadequate secondary containment) at the following 20 rail yards:
o Denver 36th Street, Burnham, Denver North, East Portal Moffatt Tunnel, Grand Junction, Kremmling, Pueblo, and Rifle, all in Colorado
o Helper, Ogden, Provo, Roper, Salt Lake City North, and Summit, all in Utah
§ Also for six rail yards in Utah, failure to provide certifications and reports for storm water pollution prevention plans (SWPPPs) as required by the Utah Multi-Sector General Permit. o Bill, Buford, Cheyenne, Green River, Laramie, and Rawlins, all in Wyoming
§ Also for the Rawlins, Wyoming rail yard, an inadequate FRP and a failed Government Initiated Unannounced Exercise

###

Sponsored by

TODAY'S HEADLINES

RWL Water to supply advanced water treatment for Chile power plant

STX Heavy Industries has selected RWL Water to supply water treatment for a flue gas desulfurization project at the ENDESA C.E.L.T.A. power plant in the city of Tarapaca, Chile.

Florida DEP allocates $4.75M to major water projects across Northwest region of state

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is providing $4.75 million for six major water-related projects in the Northwest region of the state. Matching local funding totaling $7.5 million will accommodate upgrades to potable-water, wastewater and stormwater facilities.

New partnership to deliver innovative wastewater treatment technologies to India, Switzerland

Royal HaskoningDHV and VA Tech Wabag have signed a 10-year Cooperation Agreement to deliver an innovative wastewater treatment technology that uses aerobic granular biomass to the countries of India and Switzerland.

Western New York facing disastrous flooding as record snowfall melts

According to new reports, major flooding has become a growing concern in Western regions of New York State, particularly the city of Buffalo, as high winds are raising temperatures in the area, where 88 inches, or over 7 feet, of snow fell last week.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA