Houston, Harris County to sue Union Pacific over contaminated site

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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Union Pacific is taking the heat for what has been called a contaminated site in the Houston area.

The city of Houston and Harris County, Texas, are planning on suing Union Pacific over a site that they are calling “contaminated” in the city’s Fifth Ward.

The site is being blamed for “cancer clusters” taking place in nearby communities for years. Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee said the Fifth Ward is a black and underserved community that has dealt with negative health effects from hazardous waste and chemicals for decades.

The site was once used to treat crossties with creosote, and Union Pacific admitted that solid creosote may contaminate some groundwater up to 66 stories below the surface. The Class 1 has warned residents not to dig wells. Union Pacific said decades of testing has revealed no link from the site to any resident.

However, a study by the Texas Department of State Health Services completed last year showed that children living close to the site had elevated levels of leukemia.

Notices of intent to sue will be sent to Union Pacific, the U.S. Environmental Agency, the Attorney General of the U.S., and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

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