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Col-Tex Refinery

This former tank farm and refinery in Colorado City, Mitchell County is being addressed under the State Superfund Program.

Site Background

The Col-Tex Refinery operated from 1928 to 1969 on about 175 acres straddling Business Interstate 20 (U.S. 80) in Colorado City. During the 1970s, the refinery was dismantled, except for one active above-ground storage tank on the bluff, and three above-ground storage tanks adjacent to the Colorado River. These three tanks were believed to be a source of contamination found at the river. For purposes of cleanup, four areas of concern were designated: north pond area, Col-Tex 1 which includes the former tank farm, Col-Tex 2, the former refinery area, and the National Foam Cushion property.

Superfund Actions Taken to Date

  • January 22, 1992, TWC issued an administrative order requiring the potentially responsible parties to install a perimeter fence; maintain netting to prevent migratory birds from landing in the contaminated pools; and block all releases of hazardous substances from the site to the Colorado River.
  • April 30, 1993, TNRCC issued an administrative order calling for the potentially responsible parties to determine the nature and extent of contamination (remedial investigation).
  • September 1, 1993, effective date of the creation of the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission from the joining of the Texas Water Commission and the Texas Air Control Board and a portion of the Texas Department of Health.
  • December 6, 1993, dismantling of the three aboveground storage tanks, adjacent to
    the Colorado River, under way by TNRCC.
  • In 1993, TNRCC identified three areas of the total 175 acres for focused remedial investigation: the refinery area, the north pond area, and the tank farm area. A site
    perimeter fence was constructed to limit unauthorized access and signs were posted warning of contamination.
  • January 25, 1994, a legal notice published in the Texas Register (19 Tex Reg545) included Col-Tex Refinery on the state Superfund registry and described the 175-acre site.
  • April 16, 1994, remedial investigation Phase I under way at the north pond area, a former disposal site for asphaltic material.
  • June 16, 1994, remedial investigation/feasibility study under way on refinery portion of the site.
  • July 7, 1994, TNRCC completed dismantling and removal of the three aboveground storage tanks adjacent to the Colorado River.
  • December 1994, results from a second round of groundwater samples from monitor
    wells, marked completion of the remedial investigation at the north pond tract.
  • June 30, 1995, a potentially responsible party (PRP) completed revision of the remedial investigation work plan on the tank farm and refinery areas.
  • July 13, 1995, north pond remedial investigation report submitted to TNRCC for review.
  • December 1995, another potentially responsible party installed four monitoring wells on the property adjacent to the refinery area to assess potential impact of operating activities on the shallow groundwater.
  • October 17, 1996, removal of all trash and debris by potential responsible parties under way.
  • November 19, 1996, TNRCC requested that the potentially responsible parties install absorbant booms at the north seep as an interim measure to abate releases to the Colorado River.
  • December 4, 1996, TNRCC approved the Phase II remedial investigation work plan for the tank farm area and the potentially responsible party began installation of hydrocarbon recovery wells in the area of the former cracking unit adjacent to the tank farm area.
  • January 1, 1997, site cleaned up; all trash and debris, including asbestos and scrap concrete, was picked up and disposed of or buried.
  • January 7, 1997, a potentially responsible party completed installation of hydrocarbon recovery wells in the area of the former cracking unit adjacent to the tank farm area.
  • January 10, 1997, TNRCC approved the potentially responsible party workplan to delineate the hydrocarbon seeps and characterize the hydrologic conditions in the north seep area.
  • June 30, 1997, a potentially responsible party completed remedial investigation field work on the tank farm area.
  • July 21, 1997, TNRCC approved the remedial investigation workplan for the refinery area.
  • October 30, 1997, TNRCC received Phase II remedial investigation report for the tank farm area.
  • February 13, 1998, TNRCC approved the potentially responsible party workplan for an asphalt recycling pilot project that would convert the nonhazardous contaminants into a usable road base material.
  • May 19, 1998, the first batch of asphalt stabilized base produced at the asphalt recycling pilot project was used to build a connecting road from Interstate Highway 20 to a Mitchell County housing development. The base material was donated to Colorado City.
  • June 3, 1998, TNRCC approved transporting similar nonhazardous material from the north pond area to the refinery area for recycling.
  • July 30, 1998, the pilot project cleaned more than 7,000 tons of nonhazardous material from the refinery area and recycled it into asphalt stabilized base that was donated to Mitchell County to resurface seven miles of county roads.
  • December 10, 1998, a potentially responsible party developed a work plan for an ecological risk assessment for the entire 175 acres.
  • January 20, 1999, TNRCC approved consolidating nonhazardous material from several impoundments in the tank farm area.
  • March 2, 1999, TNRCC received a revision to the Phase II remedial investigation report from October 30, 1997.
  • March 30, 1999, the potentially responsible party submitted a work plan to TNRCC outlining their intent to use the same recycling process on asphalt and crude oil tank breakout material stored at the tank farm.
  • April 15, 1999, material from the north pond impoundment was relocated to the tank farm area during the first quarter of 1999.
  • May 20, 1999, TNRCC approved the revisions to the Phase II remedial investigation report for the tank farm area and accepted the potentially responsible party's recommendation to conduct additional remedial investigation field work.
  • May 26, 1999, potentially responsible party completed field work on the refinery area of the site.
  • August 2, 1999, TNRCC approved the tank farm asphalt recycling workplan; cleanup activities initiated.
  • January 21, 2000, potentially responsible party reported that more than 35,000 tons of asphalt stabilized road base had been produced from nonhazardous material from the site.
  • March 20, 2000, the potentially responsible party installed two wells on the east side of the tank farm.
  • April 2000, potentially responsible party installed wells at the North Seep and National Foam areas. The potentially responsible party also conducted a property survey in the Sanitago area for the installation of offsite wells west of Col-Tex II area of concern.
  • May 24, 2000, potentially responsible party provided site tour and update to TNRCC management staff.
  • June 7, 2000, potentially responsible party installed a solar-powered skimmer for Col-Tex II product recovery monitoring well number 7. In September, the skimmer was moved to monitoring well number 4.
  • August 2000, the potentially responsible party installed a monitoring well on the west side of the Santiago area.
  • August 25, 2000, TNRCC approved the Ecological Risk Assessment Sampling Plan and modifications to the Quality Assurance Project Plan.
  • April 3, 2001, the potentially responsible party installed an interceptor trench on the Col-Tex I area of concern for the remediation of groundwater.
  • May 25, 2000, TNRCC approved a sampling and analysis plan to initiate closures for several impoundments on the tank farm.
  • July 12, 2001, the potentially responsible party completed soil sampling needed to collect additional data to conduct a risk assessment and delineate contaminants as required by the Texas Risk Reduction Program (TRRP).
  • November 30, 2001, TNRCC approved a work plan to plug and abandon three Santa Rosa wells that had been initially used for the refinery operations.
  • March 7, 2002, TNRCC approved the final soil remediation report for the National Foam Cushion Manufacturing, Inc., property in Colorado City.
  • March 13, 2002, TNRCC approved the work plan for a source removal pilot test. Also approved was an amendment to plug and abandon a well located on the North Pond area of concern.
  • June 3, 2002, TNRCC sent letters to the potentially responsible parties for the National Foam Cushion Manufacturing area of concern, and requested information and a response that the potentially responsible parties address the groundwater impacted by chlorinated solvents. Recycling was suspended pending the completion of additional excavation for the containment cell.
  • June 11, 2002, TNRCC received a proposed groundwater delineation investigation work plan for the Col-Tex facility. The plan has been reviewed and drilling was under way. Upon completion of the drilling and delineation of groundwater contamination, all data was to be reviewed to prepare for the selection of candidate wells for plugging and abandonment.
  • June 15, 2002, the potentially responsible parties provided a response to TNRCC's June 3, 2002, request for information for the National Foam Cushion Manufacturing property.
  • August 30, 2002, TNRCC received a soil sampling and analysis plan. The proposal is under review and has been discussed with the potentially responsible parties.
  • September 1, 2002, effective date of the name change from Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
  • October 2002, the phase 2 field investigation was underway to drill new monitoring wells for the delineation of groundwater to the west of the tank farm.
  • October 25, 2002, a legal notice was published in the Texas Register,(27 TexReg 10195-10195) announcing a 30-day comment period for a draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment and a draft Settlement Agreement for Natural Resource Injuries.
  • November 2002, the phase 2 field investigation was under way to drill new monitor wells on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice property north of the Colorado River and site.
  • November 13, 2002, TCEQ approved the sampling and analysis plan to support the investigation for the site-specific ecological assessment.
  • November 15, 2002, TCEQ approved the October 17, 2002, Col-Tex phase 2 plume delineation work plan.
  • November 21, 2002, TCEQ received the Col-Tex treatment plant process flow diagram and associated information for a proposed hydrocarbon treatment plant upgrade.
  • December 4, 2002, a notice was sent to the site potentially responsible parties providing them with notification for a proposed construction of a containment cell.
  • February 3, 2003, The TCEQ project manager approved the interim removal action work plan for the tank farm containment cell.
  • February 5, 2003, TCEQ approved the interim removal action tank farm containment cell test pad plan and the second phase hydraulic conductivity testing results for the tank farm containment cell. Also reviewed and approved was the test pad construction summary submitted by the PRP consultant for the proposed containment cell.
    TCEQ also approved the work plan proposal for the installation and sampling of the monitoring well north of the National Foam facility.
  • May 13, 2003, TCEQ approved the work plan for sampling of surface soils and analysis for lead using X-ray fluorescence in the former refinery area, now known as Col-Tex 2, area of concern. The work plan proposed to delineate the extent of elevated lead concentrations in soils using X-ray fluorescence in the western portion of Col-Tex 2 to refine remedial options, and to manage soils to protect on-site workers and the environment.
  • September 2003, the TCEQ project manager monitored construction of the containment cell, excavation of free product in the former refinery area, and abatement of releases to the Colorado River. A suspected leak reported from a nearby pipeline into the Colorado River was referred to the Region 3 office of TCEQ in Abilene.
  • January 26, 2004, the TCEQ approved a work plan from the potentially responsible party to modify the detention pond at the tank farm area's containment cell to a retention pond to store surface water.
  • April 19, 2004, TCEQ approved the revised quality assurance project plan submitted by the potentially responsible party.
  • May 17, 2004, TCEQ approved a work plan for a pump test on the uppermost hydraulic unit at the site.
  • June 16, 2004, TCEQ approved the proposal to raise the containment cell six feet above the original design to accommodate 111,000 additional cubic yards of petroleum-impacted soil.
  • July 8, 2004, TCEQ approved the work plan for nonaqueous-phase liquids (NAPL) characterization and delineation, and the plan to plug and abandon certain monitoring wells.
  • August 2004, TCEQ approved a pilot test for the water treatment system.
  • January 2005, work is continuing on the treatment of groundwater, excavation of impacted soils in the former refinery area, and construction of the containment cell.
  • April 2005, on-site excavation continues for the removal of the contaminated material in the alluvium at the Col-Tex II area.
  • May 4, 2005, a work plan modification was approved on the tank farm containment cell. The modification will increase the capacity of the containment cell to a total volume of 596,000 cubic yards. The vertical expansion is to accommodate the additional volume of contaminated material being excavated from the alluvium in the Col-Tex II area.
  • May 13, 2005, a work plan was submitted to the TCEQ to test the feasibility of managing ground water in the tank farm area through grouting of bedrock fractures.
  • May 26, 2005, TCEQ approved the work plan for testing the feasibility of managing ground water in the tank farm area through grouting of bedrock fractures.
  • September 26, 2005, TCEQ approved the site-specific ecological risk assessment in and internal memorandum.
  • October 4, 2005, a work plan was submitted to TCEQ to evaluate the north seep remediation system to see if it is performing as intended.
  • October 28, 2005, TCEQ approved the work plan to evaluate the north seep remediation system.
  • April 28, 2006, a work plan was approved for angle borings and pump tests in the ground water bearing Unit B in the river flood plain area.
  • June 2006, excavation of contaminated soils continues and trenches are being dug to locate and intercept light non-aqueous phase liquids.
  • August 21, 2009, TCEQ Project Manager toured the site and found all activities progressing satisfactorily, including:  construction and maintenance of the wildlife preservation area near the river, sampling of extensive groundwater monitoring network, removal of hydrocarbons from groundwater monitoring network, removal of hydrocarbons from groundwater, consolidation of contaminated soils within a capped area, pilot testing of remedial technologies, excavation of source materials, control of seeps, and preparation of reports to the TCEQ.
  • October 13, 2009, TCEQ received the quarterly progress report for the 3rd quarter of 2009.
  • October 20, 2009,  A representative of the primary potentially responsible party met with the TCEQ Superfund section staff and presented a lengthy discussion of the history and activities at the site.
  • January 14, 2010, TCEQ received the quarterly progress report for the 4th quarter of 2009.
  • February 1, 2010, TCEQ received the Affected Property Assessment Report (APAR) for the North Pond Area.
  • April 13, 2010, TCEQ received the quarterly progress report for the 1st quarter of 2010.
  • April 27, 2010, TCEQ approved the APAR for the North Pond Area
  • May 2012, All the monitor wells were sampled and analyzed to evaluate the plume movement. The plume is stationary.

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Site Specific Information

EPA ID : None
Location : Colorado City, Mitchell County
Site Status : Cleanup Under Way
Type of Facility :Tank Farm and Refinery
Category : Listed on Registry
Media Affected : Groundwater, Soil, River Sediment
Latitude : 32º23'19"N
Longitude : -100º52'28"W
Hazard Ranking Score (HRS) : 51.93
Contaminants at time of HRS : Benzene, Toluene, Xylene
TCEQ Region : Abilene - 3
Funded by : Potentially Responsible Parties

Contact Information

Superfund Project Manager
Jeff Patterson
512-239-2489 or 1-800-633-9363
E-mail: superfnd@tceq.texas.gov

Superfund Community Relations Liaison
Crystal Taylor
512-239-3844 or 1-800-633-9363
E-mail: superfnd@tceq.texas.gov

Records Repositories

Mitchell County Public Library
340 Oak Street
Colorado City, TX 79512
325/728-3968

TCEQ Central File Room
12100 Park 35 Circle Building E,
First Floor Room 103
Austin, TX 78753
512-239-2900
512-239-1850 (fax)
cfrreq@tceq.texas.gov