August 7, 2014

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE Presented Awards for Waste Railroad Tie Clean Up

WICHITA, Kan.— The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) presented three awards to railroad companies who have cleaned up significant piles of railroad ties in Kansas. The awards were presented during a luncheon at the 2014 Kansas Environmental Conference, held August 5-7 at the Wichita Marriott Hotel.

John Mitchell, KDHE Division of Environment Director, presented the awards to Cimarron Railroad, WATCO Railroad Company and Union Pacific Railroad.

For nearly 20 years KDHE has worked with concerned citizens, local government officials and responsible parties to address large accumulations of waste railroad ties throughout Kansas. This is the first time awards have been given to companies who have cleaned up railroad ties. 

“Partnerships like those KDHE has with Cimarron Railroad, WATCO Railroad and Union Pacific railroad are essential to protecting the environment of Kansas,” said John Mitchell, Director of the Division of Environment, KDHE. “With the help of these three partners recognized today we have removed almost 400,000 old railroad ties from Kansas. The removal of these railroad ties will prevent fires and other public health hazards.”

Cimarron Railroad services southwest Kansas and runs through Ford, Gray, Haskell, Stevens, Morton, Grant and Stanton counties. While replacing the railroad line in these counties, they generated 184,000 old railroad ties and properly disposed them.
WATCO Railroad services southeast, south-central and parts of western Kansas. WATCO has worked with KDHE to clean up several railroad tie accumulations. Most recently, they cleaned up 15,000 railroad ties south of Great Bend, KS, which were creating public health and aesthetic concerns.

Union Pacific Railroad services the entire state of Kansas. Since 2005 Union Pacific has worked with KDHE to identify sites where Union Pacific contractors who had improperly and without the knowledge of Union Pacific dumped railroad ties in Kansas. In total, Union Pacific has cleaned up approximately 200,000 railroad ties from Lucas, Bushong, Edwardsville, Ellis, Culver and Beaumont, KS.

Congratulations to the recipients of these awards. More information about the Kansas Environmental Conference can be found at