BEATRICE – A lawsuit filed against other entities by the City of Beatrice over cleanup of a contaminated site near First and Market, means the city will receive $650,000 toward covering the city’s cost of $2.4 million.
The settlement agreements with Aquila, other corporate entities and Kirkham-Michael Engineering firm appears to close out the issue of which parties are responsible for the cleanup of a former coal gas plant site along the Big Blue River.
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City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer says the settlement money will help cover a reduction in the city’s cash reserves because of the cleanup project.
Kirkham-Michael was the engineering firm that assessed the condition of the site, which will be monitored over the next five years by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Control.
A small amount of money will be placed in a post-closure fund to have the EPA continue to monitor the site well into the future.
In total, Centel was responsible for 75% of the overall site cleanup cost, while the City of Beatrice share was 25%. The cleanup included area along the river, but also underneath and east of nearby railroad tracks that extend through the area.
The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the EPA said the site’s soil and groundwater was contaminated by cyanide, metals, petroleum hydrocarbons and gasoline additives. The gas plant operated in the early 1900s.
The site is now green space with newly planted trees.