For Immediate Release
February 26, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE, Union Pacific Reach Agreement on Railroad Tie Cleanup

Union Pacific Agrees to Pay Costs of Cleanup that will Begin on March 1

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and Union Pacific Railroad Corporation have signed an agreement to clean up piles of old railroad ties at a site within the town of Bushong, in Lyon County. Union Pacific has agreed to reimburse KDHE for 100 percent of the cleanup costs.

“The level of partnership we’ve enjoyed with Union Pacific is the kind we like to see in every environmental project,” stated Ron Hammerschmidt, Director of the Division of Environment at KDHE. “We truly appreciate the constructive and pro-active approach to this challenge that Union Pacific has shown.”

About 3,000 of the old, wooden ties are located at a site near the Rural Water District #1 water tower in Bushong. Union Pacific has granted the state access to the property. A KDHE contractor will remove the ties and take them to an approved landfill.

“We value our partnership with the state of Kansas, and are pleased we were able to reach an agreement to clean up the site,” said Chris Peterson, director-Government Affairs at Union Pacific. “Union Pacific works hard to protect the environment in all of our communities, and we welcome this opportunity to work with the state of Kansas to address this issue in Lyon County.”

The cleanup, which is completely voluntary, is scheduled to begin March 1. The presence of the ties has not resulted in any pollution to the environment, but their removal will eliminate a potential health and safety hazard, while improving neighborhood cleanliness.

Anyone who has questions or concerns regarding abandoned railroad ties or other materials should contact Bob Medina with the KDHE Bureau of Waste Management at 785-296-6617.