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BNSF suspends property reimbursements to most Allouez residents after 50 years

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SUPERIOR, WI- If you drive through the Allouez neighborhood in Superior, you may notice the homes, garages and cars are tinted a pink color.

That tint comes from taconite dust drifting over from the BNSF facility, right in their backyards.

For the last 50 years, BSNF has refunded people money to clean their homes, but now the railroad is rejecting claims after they are filed.

Mary Ann Ross has lived in the Allouez neighborhood for 55 years. She says she has to clean dust off her house twice a year.

"In the winter time our snow is black, and then it turns red," said Ross.

Wisconsin State Representative Nick Milroy is one of the several lawmakers who signed a letter to BNSF, asking them to reconsider.

"I know a lot of people buy power washers in this neighborhood to wash their houses and then get reimbursed for that, but they could hire cleaning companies to come and clean their houses. It's a small reimbursement for people to maintain their property," said Rep. Milroy.

Milroy says this is not something people should have to live with, but the payments, upwards of $400, make it a little more bearable.

Although residents power wash and paint, the dust and lasting stains from the taconite still lingers.

A BNSF spokesperson says the company will continue to reimburse claims for more than two dozen property owners, but that's down from more than 200 properties, according to city officials.

Residents say BNSF has not made it clear which properties still qualify.

Natalie Grant

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