Beatrice Contamination Site Cleanup, Beginning Soon

Beatrice Contamination Site Cleanup, Beginning Soon
Contamination area, at 1st and Market Streets

BEATRICE –  In just a few days, a long-awaited clean-up of a contaminated site near the Big Blue River in Beatrice will begin.

:07                  “will notice”

Beatrice City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer says the city has been working on the legal process and remediation involving the former Beatrice Manufactured Gas Plant at 1st and Market, since 2007.  The plant operated in the city in the early part of the 1900s.  The city will be responsible for 25% of the cost of an approved remediation effort, while Centel Corporation will pay 75% of the cost.

:14                  “EPA oversight”

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the EPA say the site soil and groundwater is contaminated by cyanide, metals, petroleum hydrocarbons and gasoline additives, among other things.

Tempelmeyer says the actual clean-up and removal of soil at the initial site near 1st and Market is scheduled to begin, January 23rd.

:28                  “we selected”

Once cleaned up, the site will be restricted from just about any other type of use, and will likely remain as grassland.   Part of the clean up involves removal of an underground gas holder.

:28                  “20 to 30 feet”

The gas holder is located just a few feet from the Big Blue River bank.  The first clean-up project removing soil and the underground gas holder is projected to take about 15 weeks. DSCN1828

But, Tempelmeyer says there is also a second remediation area, located on and east of railroad tracks, which will also undergo clean-up, likely next year.   Tempelmeyer says that project will take longer, because of permission the city must obtain from Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad.

:16                  “clean it all up”

The part of the project east of the tracks is a smaller contaminated area, than the one where work is to begin this month.

In a bit of a strange twist, the contaminated soil removed during the clean-up is not required to be taken to a hazardous waste site.

:22                  “as cover soil”

To this point, the City of Beatrice has spent about $700,000.  The clean-up of the first site will cost a similar amount of money.  Environmental officials determined responsibility for the clean-up based on past ownership of the land near 1st and Market.   The remediation will include removing about the top four feet of earth in that area and developing a groundwater management plan.

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