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Eugene, OR—The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality will hold an informational meeting about its recommendation to approve a plan for parts of Union Pacific Railroad's Eugene Yard to protect workers from contamination and to require ongoing groundwater monitoring in nearby neighborhoods.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday May 22 at Kelly Middle School, 850 Howard Avenue, Eugene. Representatives from DEQ and Union Pacific Railroad will provide information and field questions on the Final Remedial Action for parts of the yard. The plan calls for worker safety plans and ongoing monitoring to ensure that off-site groundwater contamination does not pose a risk to neighbors.

DEQ began investigating possible contamination at the rail yard site in the early 1990s. The investigation found the groundwater beneath parts of the site was contaminated by solvents that were used at the former locomotive facility. The solvents leaked into the groundwater and the contamination spread off site, beneath parts of the Trainsong and River Road neighborhoods.

In the 1990s and 2000s, DEQ and Southern Pacific Railroad (which was later purchased by Union Pacific Railroad) conducted a number of sampling events, which initially included sampling private backyard irrigation wells, as well as comprehensive sampling on the rail yard itself. The investigation also found contamination from petroleum hydrocarbons and metals in soil.

When investigators discovered that solvent vapors might be getting into homes in the Trainsong area, vapor barriers were installed in nine homes. Union Pacific Railroad also began treating groundwater to reduce the amount of contaminated groundwater moving off site. By 2011 solvent vapors in soil had dropped dramatically and DEQ approved removal of the vapor barriers.

DEQ is accepting comments until 5 p.m. Thursday June 15 on its recommendation to approve the plan. Send comments to DEQ Project Manager Don Hanson at 165 E. Seventh Ave., Suite 100, Eugene, OR 97401-3049 or For more information contact the project manager at 541-687-7349.

Following the comment period, DEQ will prepare a Record of Decision that stipulates the remedial activities Union Pacific Railroad must complete at the site. The company will then enter into an agreement with DEQ to complete the remedial design and remedial action implementation.

More information on the project's history can be found at:

Katherine Benenati, Public Affairs Specialist, Eugene, 541-686-7997,
Don Hanson, DEQ Project Manager, Eugene, 541-687-7349,


Environment & Energy