City of Beatrice Investigating Insurance Coverage, on Gas Plant Cleanup

City of Beatrice Investigating Insurance Coverage, on Gas Plant Cleanup
Former coal gas plant site, now includes seeded area, trees

BEATRICE – The City of Beatrice has hired a legal consultant to help determine if insurance coverage in force long ago, may aid recovering some of the city’s cost for cleaning up a former coal gas plant site.

The Beatrice City Council last night approved an agreement with Eisenstein Malanchuk LLP, to examine past insurance that may have been in effect.

City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer says the goal is to determine if there was coverage for the contamination that occurred at the 1st and Market site near the Big Blue River.  He says the firm which handles environmental claims contacted the city about a month ago.

:18                  “at that time”

If information can be found regarding insurance coverage that existed while the land was under ownership of the city, it could provide some reimbursement to the city for cost of the cleanup.

:24                  “65 percent”

Mayor Stan Wirth says its’ worth the effort to go forward with the agreement, adding the city is not out any money, in doing so.

:05                  “collect something”

The agreement excludes pending legal action that the city has against former site owners, Aquila and Kirkham-Michael Engineers.

The City of Beatrice share of the total cleanup cost was 25% …about $1.2 million.

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the EPA previously said the site’s soil and groundwater was contaminated by cyanide, metals, petroleum hydrocarbons and gasoline additives…products left over by a coal gasification plant that operated in the first half of the last century.  The city has dealt with the site, since its’ discovery in 2004.

Cleanup by a Texas-based environmental firm was completed, in recent weeks.