TCEQ hasn’t completed review of Bryan Park soil

Published 1:31 pm Monday, June 4, 2018

By Ken Stickney

The city of Port Arthur made its May 11 deadline for addressing contaminated soil under an historic locomotive exhibited at Bryan Park, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said in an issued statement Friday.

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But three weeks after the deadline, the state agency had not completed its review of the compliance documentation.

“Confirmation soil samples were taken to ensure the contaminated soil was completely remediated,” TCEQ spokesman Andrew Keese said. “Those sample results were received by TCEQ, and a review of the compliance documentation is being conducted.”

Port Arthur was under TCEQ mandate to remediate soil under Kansas City Southern Locomotive No. 503, which has been displayed in Bryan Park on Gulfway Drive for some six decades.

Environmental questions were raised about the rusted and decaying locomotive located in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey last August. Back then, TCEQ was concerned that asbestos in the locomotive and leaking oil under the attached tender — both were located within a fence in the corner of the park — might adversely affected nearby homes.

Initially, the state set a March 6 deadline for the city to address both issues; later, the deadline was moved to April 20 and then May 11 as the city addressed first the asbestos, then the contaminated soil.

To address the soil, the city had to first move the locomotive and tender onto new track it built nearby, then dig up the soil in question. The hole where the soil was removed has been filled in.