The Environmental Protection Agency reached an agreement with Union Pacific Railroad to resolve violations of the Clean Water Act in Herington.
According to the EPA, the agency has reached a proposed administrative settlement to resolve violations at the Herington Railyard. As part of the settlement, the company has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $24,000 and complete a Supplemental Environmental Project valued at $338,100.
In January 2012, two railroad tank cars at the Herington facility collided, leading to the release of 11,000 gallons of sulfuric acid. About 1,500 gallons were contained in a ditch, but the remainder flowed through an adjoining ditch and discharged into Lime Creek. The discharge impacted an estimated two miles of Lime Creek and resulted in a fish kill.
In addition to the civil penalty, Union Pacific will be required to complete a Supplemental Environmental Project to install earthen berms, flow barriers, and manually-operated drop gates that will seek to minimize runoff and releases from reaching Lime Creek. A SEP is intended to be a project that produces environmental or public health and safety benefits, earning partial credit by EPA to offset the cost of the penalty. This project is estimated to cost $338,100.
Union Pacific also paid $155,300 to the state of Kansas in restitution for damage to the state’s natural resources in August 2013.
The proposed settlement with Union Pacific is subject to a 40-day public comment period before it becomes final. The comment period began Nov. 15, 2016, and ends Dec. 15, 2016.