BNSF Railway to pay $75,000 for water quality violations

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BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — State officials say BNSF Railway will pay $75,000 to settle a 2015 penalty for water quality violations.

The Department of Ecology said Monday the railway agreed to the fine for placing creosote-treated railroad ties in water during maintenance projects in Whatcom and Skagit counties.

Creosote-treated wood is toxic to aquatic life.

The penalty was reduced from $86,000 to $75,000 with BNSF’s agreement to take steps to prevent water pollution when wooden railroad ties are replaced.

Ecology and the railway will chose a water improvement project to receive $45,000 of the settlement in Whatcom or Skagit counties.

The remaining $30,000 will be deposited into Ecology’s coastal protection fund for grants.

BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas says the railway acted quickly to resolve these concerns and that BNSF maintains the $45,000 portion of the settlement isn’t punitive.

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