An Overview of DEQ’s Involvement in Lincoln’s West Haymarket Redevelopment

(This web page was last updated May, 2011)
NDEQ is involved in several environmental aspects of the West Haymarket Redevelopment Site North. The purpose of this web page is to provide an overview of the site, and to explain the various aspects NDEQ is involved in (including the Voluntary Cleanup Plan, the diesel fuel area remediation, and stormwater and dewatering permitting activities.) This web page will be updated periodically as new information becomes available.

Background of the Site

The West Haymarket Redevelopment Site North and surrounding area has historically been used for large scale industrial and commercial operations including railroad thru-freight and switching, locomotive and railcar servicing and repair.

The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) property is located along the eastern and north-central portions of the site. This property has been used for railroad purposes for over 100 years, and railroad tracks have been present as far back as 1884. The property historically contained ice houses, railroad turntables, a railroad roundhouse, repair shops, and coal, lumber, and lime yards. Also on the property were oil storage, a carpenter shop, and a heating plant where a pump house and water tower were present.

The former Union Pacific Railroad property occupies the western perimeter of the site and has been the location of railroad tracks and a rail yard dating to the 1880s. This property historically contained a turntable and three bay engine houses.

Below is a map that shows the location of the West Haymarket Redevelopment Site North:
(See attached file: Fig 2 - West Haymarket Redev Site North.pdf)

Voluntary Cleanup Program

The Nebraska Voluntary Cleanup Program, established in 1995 by the Remedial Action Plan Monitoring Act, is a fee-based cleanup program for all entities interested in voluntarily cleaning up contaminated properties in order to redevelop and reuse them. This program utilizes a streamlined, results-based approach to environmental cleanup that places greater responsibility on the applicant and their environmental consultant while maintaining compliance with all applicable state and federal environmental regulations, with oversight by NDEQ. Guidance for investigating and cleaning up Voluntary Cleanup Program sites is provided in the Department’s Guidance Document 05-162,
Nebraska Voluntary Cleanup Program Guidance.

The flowchart below shows the steps in the Voluntary Cleanup Program process.
(See attached file: VCP-flow chart-1.pdf)

For more detailed information about the
Voluntary Cleanup Program, please visit

Background of Voluntary Cleanup Site
The West Haymarket Redevelopment Site North is located west of the historic Haymarket District in downtown Lincoln, and encompasses areas north of the “O” Street Viaduct, east of Salt Creek and south of the City of Lincoln Traffic Maintenance Facility. The BNSF rail corridor trisecting this area is not part of this investigation. The City of Lincoln, as represented by the Joint Public Agency, applied to the Voluntary Cleanup Program on October 28, 2010 and is leading a public/private partnership to redevelop the area.

Current Activities: Interim Remedial Action Plan

The Joint Public Agency submitted a draft Interim Remedial Action Plan, which is currently under review by NDEQ, to focus on the eastern portion of the site, referred to as the Arena/Mixed Use Area. Shallow soils in the area have been impacted by arsenic and lead; shallow groundwater by arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, petroleum-related compounds, and other organic compounds; deeper groundwater by barium, cadmium, chromium, and lead; and soil vapor results do not indicate a concern. The interim remedial actions proposed at the Arena/Mixed Use Area include:
  • For groundwater: Utilize the city ordinance as an institutional control to restrict groundwater use at the site. The city ordinance prohibits the use of groundwater for domestic purposes, except for when the city's water distribution system is not available to the premises on which water is required. It will be necessary to establish a long term restrictive environmental covenant for parcels/properties within the project area to address both the prohibition on the use of groundwater for drinking water and irrigation water as well as any procedural control to be applied to the properties covered by the covenant to control and authorize any construction or utility work to be performed within areas of impacted groundwater.
  • For soils: Proposed site preparation for construction includes select removal of soils unsuitable to sustain structures. It is anticipated that the removal of these structurally unsuitable soils will eliminate a good portion of contaminated soils. The excavated space from this removal will be replaced with clean fill material to create a protective barrier between inhabited space and soils left in place that potentially still contain contaminants.
  • For soil vapor: While tentative determinations do not appear to present a vapor intrusion threat to enclosed structures, sub-surface structures, or utilities, the vapor intrusion pathway will continue to be evaluated.
Future Activities
Development activities planned for the Arena/Mixed Use Area are scheduled to begin in late May of 2011. Further investigation of the remainder of the West Haymarket Redevelopment Site North will be completed in 2011. At the conclusion of investigation, a final investigation report and Remedial Action Plan will be prepared. If NDEQ makes a preliminary determination to approve the plan, the agency will announce a public comment period. During that time, the public will have the opportunity to provide written comments regarding the plan. All comments will be reviewed and considered before the agency makes a final decision regarding the plan.

Diesel Cleanup/Petroleum Remediation Program

NDEQ’s Petroleum Remediation Program is responsible for the regulatory oversight related to investigating and remediating petroleum releases originating from leaking underground storage tanks, leaking aboveground storage tanks, pipelines, or other petroleum storage and/or conveyance vessels. Petroleum Remediation staff ensure that parties responsible for releases and their consultants assess and remediate petroleum releases pursuant to
Title 118-Ground Water Quality Standards and Use Classification and Title 126-Rules and Regulations Pertaining to the Management of Wastes. Guidance for investigating petroleum releases is provided in the Department’s Environmental Guidance Document 01-082, Risk-Based Corrective Active Action (RBCA) at Petroleum Release Sites: Tier 1/Tier 2 Assessments and Reports. The guidance also explains how the Department derives clean-up target levels for several exposure pathways that might pose a risk to human health and safety.

Administered by the Petroleum Remediation Program is a reimbursement fund, which the Legislature established to assist owners/operators with the costs of remediating those releases originating from leaking storage tanks. Regulations pertaining to the reimbursement fund are found in
Title 200 - Rules and Regulations for Petroleum Release Remedial Action Reimbursement Fund.

In the Haymarket redevelopment area, BNSF initiated the investigation and remediation of diesel contamination in 1988. In order to meet construction deadlines, the City of Lincoln stepped in as a voluntary responsible party, becoming eligible for the Title 200 reimbursement funds still available for remediating this release.

For more detailed information about NDEQ’s
Petroleum Remediation Program, please visit

Past Petroleum Remediation Program Actions

On June 13, 1986, soil contaminated with diesel fuel was first discovered during subsurface exploration at the direction of the City of Lincoln prior to construction of a sanitary sewer line. BNSF was identified as the party responsible for the release, which then proceeded with investigation and remediation of the release. Installation of a recovery trench system to recover diesel fuel free product was initiated in 1988, and was expanded in 2001 to increase the efficiency of the recovery system. Additional subsurface investigation was performed by BNSF in 2004. In 2006, a modified and expanded remediation system was implemented to increase its remediation capability. BNSF installed additional monitor wells to better define the free product in spring 2010. BNSF shut down the remediation system in fall 2010 (after recovering over 11,000 gallons of diesel fuel) when the City of Lincoln took over to expedite the cleanup for the purpose of constructing of the Arena. Excavation of the contaminated soil began on March 9, 2011 and was completed on March 23, 2011. Backfilling of the excavation was completed on April 12, 2011.

Future Petroleum Remediation Program Actions

An additional subsurface investigation (Tier 2) was performed in the area where the Arena is to be located in order to determine if any remaining soil and ground water contamination poses a risk to human health and safety. This investigation is currently under review. The area where the free product plume was excavated will also undergo post-remediation monitoring to ensure that free product does not return.

Once the Tier 2 has been evaluated, the Department’s recommendations for future actions will be published in a public notice for public comment.

Stormwater and Dewatering

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System under the Clean Water Act is a federal program which the EPA has delegated to NDEQ. A permit is required whenever there is a direct discharge of pollutants to waters of the state. To fulfill this mission, the NDEQ created Nebraska Administrative Code
Title 119 – Rules and Regulations Pertaining To The Issuance of Permits Under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. For the Haymarket site, Construction Stormwater and Groundwater Dewatering General Permits have been determined to be required.

General Construction Stormwater Permit (NER110000) is required whenever a construction site will disturb more than one acre. A Notice of Intent must be submitted to the Department at least seven days prior to any work and requires the development of a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan to prevent erosion and prevent soils/pollutants from leaving the construction site. There are currently six General Construction Stormwater Permits issued for construction stormwater management at the Haymarket site.

General Dewatering Permit (NEG671000) authorizes surface water discharges from dewatering construction excavations and requires that the discharged water not exceed the water criteria standards set forth in Nebraska Title 117- Nebraska Surface Water Quality Standards. A Notice of Intent must be submitted to the Department requesting authorization prior to discharge. In addition to the standard General Dewatering Permit water testing requirements, the dewatering water from the Haymarket site must be containerized and tested for known site toxics prior to any discharge. If pollutants exceed Title 117 water quality criteria standards, the water cannot be authorized under the general permit, and cannot be discharged to waters of the state. In this case, other treatment would be necessary. To date, two Dewatering Permits have been issued for the site.

For more information

NDEQ intends to update this web page periodically. Questions can be sent to, or contact the agency at (402) 471-4223, or 1-877-253-2603. For more information about reviewing or copying our files, visit Public Records Requests.
SizeFile Name
360 KB Fig 2 - West Haymarket Redev Site North.pdf
25 KB VCP-flow chart-1.pdf