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Case Summary: Union Pacific Railroad and Gould Electronics Inc. Consent Decree for Omaha Lead Superfund Site

On June 1, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Justice Department, and the State of Nebraska lodged consent decrees with Union Pacific Railroad and Gould Electronics Inc., valued at $26.15 million, for cleanup at the Omaha Lead Superfund Site in Omaha, Nebraska. The settlements resolve the liability of these two companies at the Omaha Lead Superfund Site under sections 106 and 107 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Recovery Act (CERCLA, commonly known as Superfund).

The Omaha Lead Superfund Site is a National Priority List site consisting of thousands of residential yards contaminated with lead, largely as a result of aerial deposition from smelter waste operations that commenced in the 1870s. EPA has been involved at the Site since 1998 and has performed removal actions, an interim remedy and is now performing the final remedy at the site. Region 7's National Priority List Sites in the Midwest provides more information on the Omaha Lead Superfund Site.

Union Pacific Railroad owned the property where the major smelter that contributed to contamination at the site operated, and leased it to American Smelting and Refining Company Inc. (Asarco) (who operated the smelter) for much of the operating years. Gould Electronics Inc. owned and operated a smaller smelter at the site. EPA previously entered into a bankruptcy settlement with Asarco Inc. that provided funds for cleanup. Asarco Inc. cleaned up its smelter facility under Nebraska's state voluntary cleanup program.

These settlements will provide funds to EPA for cleanup so that current and future generations of young children can be protected from the harmful effects of exposure to toxic lead. Union Pacific Railroad will also perform lead education work in the community. Together, these efforts will make the community safer, especially for children, and will improve Omaha's environment.

The consent decrees were filed in U.S. District Court in Omaha and are subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval.

For more information, contact:

Gary Worthman
Senior Counsel
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (MC2272A)
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20460
(202) 564-4296