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Public Safety

Jefferson County
City of Port Arthur
News Release
Friday, February 16, 2018

KCS Engine 503

This City recently experienced a catastrophic event, which exacerbated the City’s financial problems (i.e. collapsing sewer systems, street deterioration, and several city facilities with leaking and deteriorating roofs).  

Just after Hurricane Harvey, an oily substance was found in Bryan Park and the surrounding area.  The source appeared to have come from the KCS Engine Train 503.  The City’s consultant, Total Safety, Inc., was hired to investigate the train. Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) regulations mandated that such spills must be immediately remediated and the soil under the train be excavated.

A visual observation revealed exposed insulation in the train prompting a test for the presence of asbestos.  It was also determined that the train contained lead based paint.  The train was also in a severe state of disrepair and deterioration.  Test results received on October 9, 2017 confirmed that the insulation contained asbestos, the level of which was above any acceptable limit.  Abatement of the asbestos was the only responsible alternative.  The TCEQ gave the City of Port Arthur a deadline of March 6, 2018 to accomplish this task of remediation of the oil spill.   Failure to do so would have placed the City in the position of being issued an Enforcement Order by TCEQ and a possible fine. 

During the months of September and October of 2017, Kansas City Southern Railroad was contacted locally and at corporate headquarters.  Inquiry was made as to its interest in re-acquiring the train. KCS declined the City’s offer.  Later in October, the Texas Transportation Museum and others were contacted in an effort to obtain the cost of full restoration of the train.   Estimates of full restoration ranged from $150,000 to $500,000. 

Due to time constraints, safety concerns, the deteriorating condition of the train, the presence of asbestos, and lead based paint, City Management determined that the best option was to award a contract, which included remediation of the liquid, abatement of the asbestos, excavation of the soil, and removal of the train.  Given the needs of this City, the conditions we face, and the fiduciary responsibility to the City by the City Manager and staff, left us with no other viable financial alternative. 

Remembering Jim Guidry

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