Thursday, February 11, 2010

Oil spil at Ingleside Superfund site

This story first published on Dec. 9 in the Aransas Pass Progress newspaper

Falcon Refinery Superfund report due in 2010

By Michael Cary
Staff Writer
Petroleum wastes contained in tanks, equipment and piping at the Falcon Refinery Superfund site adjacent to Redfish Bay is due to be reported cleaned up in 2010.
The Falcon Refinery Superfund site, located 1.7 miles southeast of State Hwy. 361 on Farm-to-Market Road 2725 between Aransas Pass and Ingleside, was a refinery operated intermittently since 1980, and is listed on the Federal Register as "currently inactive."
During its operational heyday, it maintained a 40,000 barrel per day capacity for petroleum products such as naptha, jet fuel, kerosene and fuel oil.
The site included a dock facility on Redfish Bay where materials were moved between barges and storage tanks.
The site produced crude oil, but in addition contained hazardous substances, including chromium and other chemicals, and had dumped wastes from holding tanks and leaking drums into Redfish Bay wetlands.
Residents near the facility had as early as 1985 complained about odors from processing impure crude oil, and then complained about odors from a spill in 2000.
The Texas Water Commission discovered in 1986 that the site contained untreated wastewater in tanks that had been discharged into sandy, unlined containment structures.
In November 1995 a spill of approximately eight barrels of crude oil mixture occurred in the wetlands adjacent to the facility.
In 2000, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (formerly the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission) found a leak from a naptha "stabilizer unit," with an estimated 220 gallons of industrial waste that had leaked from the tank.
The commission in 2000 found fluroanthene, pyrene, benzo(a)anthracene, chrysene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, benzo(a)pyrene, indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene, benzo(g,h,i)peryline, dibenz(a,h)anthracene, barium, manganese and mercury in sediment samples in the wetlands of Redfish Bay.
The Texas commission and the federal Environmental Protection Agency lists the National Oil Recovery Corp. as the responsible party for the site that entered into an agreement in 2004 "to perform and finance the removal action and remedial investigation and feasibility study for the Falcon Refinery Superfund Site."
The purpose of the removal action is to address the wastes from the tanks, the equipment and the piping that exists on the property.
According to an EPA report on the Falcon Refinery, "the removal action is ongoing.
"The purpose of the remedial action and feasibility study is to determine the nature and extent of contamination and to gather sufficient information about the site to support an informed risk management decision regarding which remedy is the most appropriate for the site," according to the report.
The EPA approved the work plan, a field sampling plan and an quality assurance plan in October 2007, with an addendum in May 2009.
The work is "expected to be completed in 2010."
William Zagorski, emergency managment coordinator for San Patricio County, said that beside posting documents regarding the superfund on the TCEQ's Web site and in other locations, there has been no update for local authorities.
"This is an ongoing superfund cleanup, we're not involved, we're local. We don't hear anything at all, it's the Feds and the way they do things," Zagorski said.
Jim Price, San Patricio County Commissioner, said the site cleanup is "long overdue.
"That site was left untouched with oil spilling over the tops of tanks and feeding into the bays and wetlands without anyone doing anything about it," he said.
"But I do think they have removed oil from old tanks, gradually tearing the tanks down and cleaning the place up," Price said.
"The government came and continued to let the owners operate part of that terminal while the rest of it was being cleaned up. They have quite a few trucks running 24 hours a day in and out of there," Price said.
Currently, the Superior Oil Co. has leased some of the storage tanks, and uses them to store crude oil from operating oil wells.
"The government came and continued to let the owners operate part of that terminal while the rest of it was being cleaned up. They have quite a few trucks running 24 hours a day in and out of there," Price said.
San Patricio County Judge Terry Simpson expressed some frustration with the length of time it is taking to clean up the Falcon Refinery Superfund.
"What usually happens with federal funding is they run out and wait for more money. October 1 is the date for the new federal budget, with funding to continue to remove materials from there," Simpson said.
"They have been removing material and testing for several years now. I wish they could get it taken care of in a year instead of several years," he said.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality lists 159 toxic waste superfund sites in 62 Texas counties. The Falcon Refinery Superfund Site is the only one listed in San Patricio County. There are several superfund sites in adjoining Nueces County, where Corpus Christi is located.
Those superfund sites include the Baldwin Waste Oil site, the Ballard Pits, the Brine Service Co., Industrial Road/Industrial Metals site and South Texas Solvents.
Selected superfund sites in Texas are in various stages of cleanup, according to EPA public documents.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

20,000 gallon spill at Falcon on 2/10.