DEQ to complete work on railroad switching site

The following is a press release from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality

BATON ROUGE, LA – Within the coming months, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality will finalize their oversight of Union Pacific Railroad's Shattuck street switching yard at the 100 block of North Railroad Avenue in Lake Charles.

The property was developed as a railroad switching yard in 1885 and continues as such today. In 1983, a railroad tank car of tetrachloroethylene leaked a load of 11,770 gallons onto the ground. The immediate response of vacuuming liquids and soil excavation removed the majority of contamination (8,850 gallons). Soil was mixed with kiln dust and approximately 1,100 yards of solidified soil was removed and disposed. The remaining contamination required further corrective action and risk-based evaluation. Since remediation activities commenced in 1983, groundwater has continued to be recovered and treated on site.

By 2005, Union Pacific Railroad, using DEQ's Risk Evaluation and Corrective Action Program (RECAP), determined that remaining constituents on and offsite met the regulatory standards which are protective of human health and the environment. On July 15, 2008, Union Pacific Railroad requested a No Further Action At This Time (NFA-ATT) determination from DEQ. Such a determination is granted when contamination is reduced to the extent necessary in order to achieve the established standards.

Recent soil and groundwater readings do not indicate contamination above the RECAP Standards at the site.  While the Final Groundwater Monitoring Report and the site summary have been approved by DEQ, Union Pacific Railroad intends to continue treating recovered groundwater. DEQ has accepted Union Pacific's well Plugging and Abandonment plan which will be implemented in early 2010.

"The cleanup work at Union Pacific Railroad's switching site is an example of Union Pacific's management and personnel working together with the Department of Environmental Quality to ensure that contamination at the site is properly removed," said Tom Harris, Administrator of DEQ's Remediation Services Division. "DEQ will continue to work with Union Pacific to ensure the site gets up to the established standards."

The public may view the documentation related to this site by accessing the EDMS portal at or in person at DEQ's Public Records Center, Galvez Building, 602 North 5th Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70804.