The Former Houston Wood
Preserving Works Site

Historical Timeline

Stack of Railroad Ties
1911
Work preserving railroad ties for safety reasons begins at the Houston Wood Preserving Works site.
1911
November 1983
Southern Pacific Railroad submits a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Closure Plan for a surface level waste storage area located on the site.
November 1983
Backhoe Conducting Excavation
1983 to 1984
Southern Pacific Railroad built and completed a new on-site waste storage area for creosote-contaminated soil and material.
1983 to 1984
1984
Southern Pacific Railroad discontinues operations of the site.
1984
1984
Southern Pacific Railroad submits certifications of off-site removal and closure of the surface impoundment unit.

The report can be viewed here.
1984
1991
Southern Pacific submits a RCRA post-closure permit application and ground-water compliance plan and begins cleanup under oversight of Texas regulators.
1991
1993
Southern Pacific submits cleanup program RCRA Facility Assessment Report (RFA).

The report can be viewed here.
1993
1997
Union Pacific acquires Southern Pacific and assumes responsibility for cleanup and remediation .
1997
2000
Union Pacific files an Affected Property Assessment Report (APAR) – a report that documents all impacted areas of the property, the sources of contamination, the chemicals of concern (COCs), and possible exposure pathways.

The report can be viewed here.
2000
2002
Former Southern Pacific Railroad employees of the site file a lawsuit alleging that exposure to creosote was the cause of various health impacts, Abraham v. Union Pacific Railroad Company. The trial court ruled against the former employees and the ruling was upheld in 2007.
2002
November 2003
Union Pacific holds community awareness meeting at the Greater True Vine Missionary Baptist Church.
November 2003
2005
TCEQ issues RCRA permit and Compliance Plan for the site.

The current permit can be viewed here. The current compliance plan can be viewed here.
2005
2009
Union Pacific files an Affected Property Assessment Addendum with TCEQ.

The report can be viewed here.
2009
2010
Union Pacific files an Updated Affected Property Assessment Addendum with TCEQ, and notification letters are sent to property owners indicating notice of information availability.

The report can be viewed here.
2010
May 2010 through October 2010
Union Pacific conducts a recovery pilot program to remove creosote containing subsurface water called Dense Nonaqueous Phase Liquid (DNAPL) – which is denser-than-water liquids that do not dissolve in water. Union Pacific conducts five recovery efforts that produced approximately 38 gallons of DNAPL.

The report can be viewed here.
May 2010 through October 2010
2010
Union Pacific tests wastewater samples from a city-owned sanitary sewer line, which runs through the site to determine whether chemicals of concern were infiltrating the sewer line. Testing results indicated no loading of chemicals of concern.

Results were provided in Section 3 of the Oct 2010 Updated APAR Addendum.
2010
2011
Union Pacific files a revised Updated Affected Property Assessment Addendum with TCEQ.

The report can be viewed here.
2011
2011
TCEQ approves Union Pacific’s 2011 Affected Property Assessment Report (APAR).

The approval letter can be viewed here.
2011
February 2013
Union Pacific proposes to conduct a 24-month DNAPL recovery pilot test, using 12 recovery wells to determine the feasibility of DNAPL recovery.

The Union Pacific proposal can be viewed here.
February 2013
September 2014
Union Pacific conducts a community awareness meeting to discuss restrictive covenants regarding groundwater usage at the True Vine Missionary Baptist Church.
September 2014
December 2014
Union Pacific files a RCRA Permit Renewal Application with a Response Action Plan (RAP), which proposed site remediation and cleanup activities under the oversight of the TCEQ.

The application and RAP can be viewed here.
December 2014
March and April 2015
Union Pacific issues public notice of its RCRA Permit Renewal to area residents following TCEQ issuing a letter declaring it administratively complete.

The application can be viewed here.
March and April 2015
Representative image of soil testing being conducted
2016 through 2017
Union Pacific conducts TCEQ-approved soil remediation at the site. Soil samples collected near residential properties showed contamination levels that were below TCEQ risk-based levels.

The reports can be viewed here.
2016 through 2017
2017
During an inspection of the concrete and asphalt capped areas, a tar-like substance was observed surfacing through the expansion joints and cracks. Union Pacific initiates weekly monitoring and removal activities, as needed.

The reports can be viewed here.
2017
September 2017
In response to flooding from Hurricane Harvey, Union Pacific conducts a post-storm inspection of the soil cap, which did not appear to have any significant erosion or damage.
September 2017
October 2018
Union Pacific built test pits to evaluate the liquid substance that was surfacing through joints and cracks in the concrete and asphalt caps to determine best corrective action.

The report can be viewed here.
October 2018
July 2019 — October 2019
Union Pacific submits a response, including Conceptual RAP, to a TCEQ Notice of Deficiency letter regarding its permit renewal application.

The response documents can be viewed here and here.
July 2019 — October 2019
2019
The City of Houston sampled the drinking water in the area and found no detected concentrations of chemicals of concern.

The City of Houston Health Department findings can be viewed here.
2019
January 2020
TCEQ grants approval for Union Pacific to proceed with its proposed Vapor Intrusion Assessment Work Plan.

The final work plan can be viewed here.
January 2020
January 2020
Union Pacific attends a community meeting with Impact Fifth Ward, a community organized group of residents.
January 2020
March 2020 — December 2020
Union Pacific conducts Vapor Intrusion Assessments. The final report concludes that the vapor intrusion pathway off-site is incomplete.

The reports can be viewed here.
March 2020 — December 2020
March 2020 — July 2020
Union Pacific submits Pentachlorophenol Soil Assessment Interim Reports to TCEQ.

The reports can be viewed here. The TCEQ approval can be viewed here.
March 2020 — July 2020
April 2021 — September 2021
Union Pacific submits construction plans for the North By-Pass Project that will be partially conducted at the site.

View the final construction plans here.
April 2021 — September 2021
2021
Union Pacific develops a plan to evaluate a city storm water line to determine whether it is a potential exposure pathway. TCEQ provided comments on the work plan in August and Union Pacific submitted a revised work plan in September that TCEQ approved on September 29, 2021.

The work plan can be viewed here and the approval letter can be viewed here.
2021
October 2021
The TCEQ issues the Final Draft Permit to Union Pacific.

The permit approval can be viewed here.
October 2021
September 2021
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues a letter of inquiry regarding the site.

The letter of inquiry can be viewed here. and Union Pacific’s response can be viewed here.
September 2021
May 2021
TCEQ approves Union Pacific’s proposed construction plans for the North By-Pass project.

The approval letter can be viewed here.
May 2021
August 2022
The City of Houston, Harris County, and the Bayou City Initiative filed litigation regarding the RCRA permit renewal.
August 2022
August 2022
Union Pacific joined representatives from the City of Houston, Harris County and the Bayou City Initiative for discussions to reach a potential agreement related to site remediation.

The media release can be viewed here.
August 2022
August 2022
Union Pacific joined the City of Houston, Harris County and Bayou City Initiative to request additional time before the TCEQ takes further action on the RCRA permit renewal, allowing the parties to make adjustments that are designed to speed up remediation.

The joint letter of request can be viewed here.
August 2022
© Union Pacific 2022
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