Former Nebraska Solvents Site in Grand Island:
An Overview and Update of Union Pacific Voluntary Cleanup Program Activities
(This web page was last upda
February 9, 2012
The purpose of this web page is to keep the public informed about activities occurring at the former Nebraska Solvents Company site located at 1200 Highway 30 East in Grand Island, and to provide updates about what is expected to occur in the future.
What’s Happening Now
Status of Cleanup Activities and Feb. 20 Meeting on Water Line Extension
Feb. 9, 2012 -- Soil excavation is ongoing at the source area near the former Nebraska Solvents facility. Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) has completed the planned soil excavation in the source area that was delineated in the Soil Excavation Work Plan and the Remedial Action Plan. Contaminated soil has been found adjacent to and outside of the original area, and UPRR will be taking soil samples in the next few weeks to determine whether additional excavation will be necessary.
Two rounds of groundwater treatment at the source area were conducted in 2011. One more round of treatment is planned once soil excavation and confirmatory sampling are completed.
NDEQ is reviewing a report prepared by UPRR to determine if Monitored Natural Attenuation (MNA) will be a viable remedy for achieving cleanup goals in the downgradient plume area within a reasonable timeframe. If MNA will not be feasible, then a different remedial alternative will need to be proposed.
UPRR has coordinated with the City of Grand Island to fund the City’s design of the proposed water line extension. UPRR will be contacting individual homeowners soon to sign contracts for hooking up to city water. It is expected installation and hookup will be completed by the end of 2012.
The photo at left, taken December 29, 2011, shows the excavated area in the northeast corner of the former facility. The dark soil was stained by chemicals from the former Nebraska Solvents Company. Water accumulating in the pit was filtered, pumped into a temporary holding tank, tested, and discharged into the city sewer under an agreement with the City of Grand Island.
Contamination from the former Nebraska Solvents Company leased property, located at 1200 Highway 30 East in Grand Island, has impacted private water supplies in residences east of the site. The owner of the land, Union Pacific Railroad, entered into a Voluntary Cleanup Program agreement with the state on October 25, 2007. On February 1, 2010, UPRR submitted a draft RAP to NDEQ. The RAP has been revised following NDEQ’s review and comments. The final proposed RAP was submitted to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) in December, 2010.
NDEQ conducted a public comment period which concluded with a public hearing on Feb. 10, 2011 regarding the proposed Remedial Action Plan (RAP) for the site.
More information about the cleanup work can be found in the Remedial Action Plan, attached below.
Main Narrative of the Remedial Action Plan
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Below is the responsiveness summary document, which responds to comments made at the hearing and during the comment period, the final decision letter signed by NDEQ Director Mike Linder, and the Fact Sheet for the Former Nebraska Solvents site.
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Letter Approving the Remedial Action Plan
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Fact Sheet for the Former Nebraska Solvents site
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Summary of activities and Chronology of Significant Events
The first PDF below (Summary.pdf) provides a summary of some of the main activities that have occurred at the site. The second PDF (Chronology.pdf) provides a more detailed table of significant events by year.
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Draft Timeline for Remedial Action Plan activities
(Appendix U – Schedule)
Remedial Action Plan provides projected timelines
for completion of the proposed remedies discussed in the RAP
It should be noted that this information was developed by UPRR in December 2010, and
will be updated as needed
Attachment U - Schedule
File Size 45 KB
Groundwater Concentration Map and Illustration of Plume
The first attachment (Figure No. 4-15 - Extent of Groundwater Exceeding VCP RG) provides the outline of contaminated groundwater plumes exceeding the remediation goals for various contaminants of interest at the site. The second attachment (Figure No. 7-2 - Conceptual Site Model) provides an illustration of how the plume has migrated vertically and horizontally.
Extent of Groundwater Exceeding VCP RG
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Conceptual Site Model
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Residences Provided Interim Drinking Water Alternatives
As of November, 2010, Union Pacific's contractor had found 140 homes in the eastern Hall County - western Merrick County area with private drinking water wells. Of these, 97 homes had wells that were impacted by tetrachloroethylene (PCE), mostly in Merrick County. PCE concentrations ranged from the detection limit of 0.247 ug/l to just over 19 ug/l. The drinking water standard for PCE is 5 ug/l. All of the 97 homes were offered alternative drinking water, regardless of PCE concentration. As of November, 2010, 53% of the impacted homes have whole house treatment systems installed and maintained by UPRR, and 20% of the homes have bottled water also provided by UPRR. The remaining 27 home owners, or 28%, with impacted wells declined either a whole house system or bottled water provided by UPRR. Many of these homes were already drinking bottled water. The PDF below (Interim Remedy Distribution) shows the locations of residences where PCE was detected and alternative drinking water was offered as of December, 2009.
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The proposed RAP, submitted in December 2010, proposes that UPRR pay to extend the City of Grand Island water service line to all current residential property owners within or immediately adjacent to the area bounded by Gunbarrel Road, Beck Road, Fort Kearney Road, and East Capital Avenue who chose to accept it. This water service line extension would replace the use of whole house treatment systems and bottled water; however, these whole house treatment systems and bottled water provisions will be maintained until the extension is complete. If residents decline to be hooked up to city water, UPRR will only maintain alternate water provisions until the water line is installed. The PDF below shows the approximate location of the proposed utility line. Each resident who accepts hookup to city water will have the choice of either having their existing well abandoned by a Nebraska licensed well driller, or having their well remain in place, but be disconnected from the home potable water supply if the resident wants to maintain the wells for non-potable purposes.
Conceptual Water Main Extensions
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DEQ Review and Comment of Draft RAP
(this information was last updated June 6, 2010)
NDEQ completed an extensive review of the draft RAP, and sent comments to UPRR on May 21, 2010. The comments included corrections, requests for clarification, and requests for more information. Below is a copy of NDEQ’s comments.
NDEQ RAP comments 5-21-10
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Results of Split Sampling
In April 2010 NDEQ collected “split samples” at numerous locations. A split sample refers to a separate water sample that was collected by NDEQ at the same time that UPRR was collecting their samples. The split samples were sent to a separate independent laboratory, and these results were compared to the samples taken by UPRR. This was done to provide additional quality assurance after some residents asked questions related to the accuracy of sampling data.
The results were made available to NDEQ and copies were sent to the individual well owners. The PDF below is the split sampling report that was submitted to NDEQ.
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A PDF copy of a presentation that NDEQ staff presented at a public information session in Grand Island on June 23, 2010. The presentation provides an overview of the site history up to that date, and related information.
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Below is an interim report prepared by UPRR on Sept. 19, 2008 which provides detailed information regarding investigation activities and interim actions.
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If you have additional questions related to this issue, please send an e-mail to
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Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
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P.O. Box 98922
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