Clean-up efforts at the former Houston Wood Preserving Works site began under a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program in 1984. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) supervised the railroad’s work at the site, located at 4910 Liberty Road in Houston.
Scientists, engineers and other experts have conducted environmental studies, assessments and cleanup work at this location for 30 years, with input and supervision from state and federal regulatory authorities. Work has focused on determining if there are potential exposure pathways to people near the site. Test results do not show impacted soil or groundwater exposure to residents.
Environmental Work at the Site
- Union Pacific conducted the TCEQ-approved soil remediation at the site in 2016, including soil excavation and consolidation to prevent exposure. Soil samples near the residential properties do not show impacts above TCEQ risk-based levels.
- Off-site groundwater tests do not indicate the potential for vapor intrusion.
- Property owners identified within the groundwater plume area were notified of groundwater impacts, consistent with TCEQ requirements and informed there is no exposure risk because all residential properties in the area receive drinking water from the City of Houston.
- A combination of water-well surveys and public meetings have identified no groundwater wells for domestic use in the area. The City of Houston Health Department recently re-tested the drinking water in the area and notified the public that the drinking water is safe.
- A creosote recovery program has been implemented to remove creosote from groundwater.
Current Site Status
Union Pacific continues to work cooperatively with all governmental authorities and in full compliance with all legal requirements applicable to site activities, including timely responses to TCEQ requests for additional work, testing and modification of plans to address concerns. Union Pacific will continue to work with the regulatory officials to ensure that its work at the site is in full compliance with all state and federal laws. Union Pacific is collecting additional soil, groundwater and soil gas data requested by the TCEQ. Additional efforts are included below.
- Union Pacific will continue groundwater monitoring at the site under TCEQ oversight to update existing data and monitor the stability of the historic plume.
- Union Pacific will continue performing routine inspections of the remediated areas to ensure the protective barriers are in place.
- Union Pacific will continue to recover creosote from impacted groundwater where technically feasible. Testing outside of the site found creosote located typically deeper than 25 feet below ground surface and as deep as 65 feet below ground surface. The depth combined with the difficult nature of creosote make complete removal infeasible.
- In conjunction with the TCEQ, Union Pacific will continue to evaluate options for response actions for the off-site groundwater plume.
- A revised Remedial Action Plan will be submitted to the TCEQ after these additional investigations are complete, which will be available for public review.