Dear David I spoke to a gentleman from the DEQ today and our conversation was very revealing. He has experience dealing with discarded railroad tide and left the railroad seemingly could care less if they ever picked up their discarded solid waste railroad ties. This fellow was out of the DEQ's Eugene office and went to say that a DEQ Investigator from the Salem office would look into our local RR dumping railroad ties along the Yaquina River.
The fellow I spoke to related how his office had recovered thousands upon thousands of railroad ties from the environment . This problem has been hidden and kept out of view. Was this action circumstance or deliberate? It really does not matter in a Secret Society.
However the question remains as to just how serious is this situation? We recommend that the State of Oregon require all of the railroads disclose the location of all discarded railroad ties and facilitate their removal.
The ODFW and the State of Oregon brag they are World class leaders of the environment. I do not think so. The actions of the State of Oregon is more like being World Class Losers........
The response from Representative David Gomberg's office,
Hi William, Here’s the answer we received from our contact at DEQ:
Old railroad ties are considered solid waste and would need to be disposed of at a solid waste disposal site. The reason for this is that railroad ties are typically treated using creosote, a mixture of long-chain compounds (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or “PAHs”) which have very low solubilities so can pose a water quality concern.
In the past, railroads often disposed of their old ties by leaving them alongside the tracks, but this is no longer common practice. Today, this would be considered illegal disposal of solid waste and would be treated as such. If DEQ receives a complaint about ties that have been illegally dumped, it is addressed in the same manner as any solid waste complaint. The removal of improperly disposed of ties would be done by the responsible party/property owner through enforcement action or voluntary compliance. DEQ does not remove solid waste from illegal disposal sites. We do not have a specific program or other effort aimed at the removal of these ties.
Generally speaking, the dumping of discarded railroad ties is no longer widespread. In the past, DEQ has pursued enforcement actions against railroads for the illegal disposal of these ties, an example of which would be the action against BNSF along the Deschutes River. In the instance that Mr. Lackner refers to, DEQ has received a complaint and Materials Management and Water Quality staff are coordinating on investigating and responding to that information provided.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if there is any other information you need from us at this time.
Thank you for doing your part as a concerned citizen and getting this matter looked into. Please let us know if we can be of future help.
Best, Tyler Janzen Chief of Staff Rep. David Gomberg Oregon House District 10 (503) 839-3317
Dear Tyler, this opinion and management practices of Oregon's DEG in support of the Railroads is not acceptable because the contaminated railroad ties degrade the life cycle of the aquatic species associated with Oregon State waters. The declining abundance for all of Oregon's aquatic species is the direct result of the policies and management practices at all levels o Oregon State Government. The discarding of railroad ties into our environment is just one of the challenges we face.
Currently there are tens of thousands of creosote railroad ties discarded along the rail lines in Oregon. The DEQ response to Representative Gomberg provides the rail lines an excuse to avoid Oregon's laws. In addition we object to the assertion that the discarded railroad ties are a benign practice that will have a minimum impact on the environment.
When the railroad replaced the railroad ties they picked up the railroad ties they had removed from the railway line but left the railroad ties that the railroad had previously discarded. Click on the following link to view the video clip.
We look to our legislative leaders to provide solutions to these problems in addition to the others we share. Why should discarded railroad ties become an environmental hazard for society to deal with?
The DEQ's claimed that thousands of railroad ties stored at the railroad yard in Drain were overstated or removed by the rail line. The City Manager stated that there are 2 railroad tie storage areas with approximately 80 railroad ties stored there.
I spoke to another DEQ representative who confirmed that there are indeed thousands of either stored or discarded along the railroad right of ways throughout Oregon.