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Harris Sand Pits

This former commercial sand and clay pit in Von Ormy, Bexar County is currently in the Operation and Maintenance phase of the Superfund Program.

Site Background

The Harris Sand Pits site (the site) is located at 23340 Highway 16, approximately 10.5 miles south of San Antonio at Von Ormy. The site was a commercial sand and clay quarry. From 1965 to 1975, two sand pits on the site were used as disposal sites for sulfuric acid tar sludge, a petroleum refining waste. In 1976, the owner agreed to a Bexar County district court order to stop using the site for waste disposal. The owner was also ordered to cover the pits with a cap of 3 feet of compacted clay and to seed the cap to prevent erosion. In 1984, inspectors noted that the pits were no longer capped and that wastes, possibly sulfuric acid tars, were surfacing and beginning to flow away from the pits.

 

Superfund Actions Taken to Date

  • October 16, 1987, a legal notice was published in the Texas Register (12 TexReg 3858-3859) proposing the site to the state Superfund registry, and announcing that a public meeting to receive citizen comments would be held at the Alamo Area Council of Governments in San Antonio on November 16, 1987.
  • January 22, 1988, a legal notice was published in the Texas Register (13 TexReg 427-428) listing the site on the state Superfund registry.
  • September 20, 1990, effective date of an agreed administrative order that was signed by the potentially responsible parties (PRP) to conduct a remedial investigation and establishing rules, responsibilities and enforcement options for responsible party cleanup under monitoring supervision.
  • 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.
  • July 25, 1994, PRP issued contract to determine the nature and extent of contamination (remedial investigation/feasibility study).
  • May 16, 1997, the final feasibility study report was approved by TNRCC, marking completion of the remedial investigation/feasibility study phase.
  • June 17, 1997, a legal notice was published in the Texas Register (22 TexReg 5865-5866) and the San Antonio Express-News announcing a public meeting would be held August 5, 1997, at St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church social hall in Von Ormy to present to the community the best choice among cleanup remedies and to receive citizen comments to be considered in the final recommended remedy.
  • June 18, 1997, a legal notice was published in the Pleasanton Express announcing a public meeting would be held August 5, 1997, at St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church social hall in Von Ormy to present to the community the best choice among cleanup remedies and to receive citizen comments to be considered in the final recommended remedy.
  • August 5, 1997, a public meeting was held at St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church social hall in Von Ormy to receive comments on the proposed cleanup alternative, which was on-site waste treatment by excavation and consolidation of the waste into a disposal cell that was to be covered with an engineered cap. TNRCC will continue to monitor the groundwater until it is satisfactorily attenuated.
  • September 1997, a community relations plan was prepared for the site and added to the official documents available for public viewing at the San Antonio Library, St. Peters Catholic Church, and at the TCEQ Records Management Center.
  • February 27, 1998, TNRCC issued an administrative order, directing the potentially responsible party to perform or fund the remedial design and remedial action for the cleanup. The order set cleanup levels, selected the remedy for cleanup, and established rules, responsibilities and enforcement options for remedial design/remedial action under state Superfund process.
  • March 9, 1998, a final administrative order was issued, setting cleanup levels, selecting the remedy for cleanup, and establishing rules, responsibilities and enforcement options for remedial design/remedial action under state Superfund process.
  • November 16, 1998, remedial design of the selected site remedy was completed.
  • November 17, 1998, remedial action under way.
  • May 21, 1999, project manager reports inspection shows remedial action substantially complete. Draft remedial action report submitted to TNRCC.
  • July 29, 1999, TNRCC conducted final inspection.
  • August 6, 1999, final remedial action report submitted to TNRCC.
  • October 7, 1999, final remedial action report approved by TNRCC. Post-closure activity initiated.
  • January 20, 2000, TNRCC started review of post-closure report.
  • January 21, 2000, TNRCC received the post-closure report from the PRP.
  • January-December 2000, monthly O&M inspections were completed by the PRP.
  • January-June 2001, monthly O&M inspections were completed by the PRP. The primary concern in the report is to get grass to grow on the containment cell cap to prevent soil erosion.
  • July 12, 2001, TNRCC met PRP representatives at the site, toured the site, and assessed the grass condition as generally good and established.
  • September 21, 2001, TNRCC approved decreasing inspections of the cap and grass cover from monthly to semiannually.
  • May 16, 2002, TNRCC approved the semiannual operations and maintenance results that were used to establish the background concentrations and baseline concentrations for the chemicals of concern in the groundwater.
  • August 15, 2002, operations and maintenance activities, consisting of groundwater monitor well sampling and inspection of the cap and fence, were performed.
  • August 22, 2002, TNRCC approved decreasing inspections of the cap and grass cover from every six months to annually.
  • September 1, 2002, effective date of the name change from Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
  • February 20, 2003, TCEQ completed its review and accepted the annual post closure report for the site.
  • August 2003, operation and maintenance field activities continued to be performed. The operation and maintenance presently consists of semiannual inspection of the cap and the fence, and annual groundwater monitor well sampling.
  • September 2003-August 2004, monitor wells were sampled and the cap and fence were inspected. Erosion prevention methods were being evaluated for the cap.
  • February 2005, TCEQ accepted the 2004 post closure progress report from the potentially responsible parties. The cap erosion problem was resolved with the construction of concrete channels to direct storm water runoff away from the sides of the cap.
  • February 2006, the 2005 post closure care progress report was accepted from the potentially responsible parties. The construction of concrete channels to direct storm water runoff away from the sides of the cap in 2004 continues to effectively address cap erosion issues.
  • March 21, 2006, the semi-annual site inspection was conducted.
  • February 2008, the 2007 post closure care progress report was accepted from the potentially responsible parties. The construction of concrete channels to direct storm water runoff away from the sides of the cap in 2004 continues to effectively address cap erosion issues.
  • February 2009, Post Closure Monitoring Report covering 2008 received. This report showed an increase in concentration of arsenic, cadmium, and chromium in 6 of 9 monitoring wells. Re-sampling of those wells was requested on February 20, 2009.
  • March 2009, The re-sampling event in March 2009 showed decreased concentrations of metals.  Regular yearly sampling was resumed.
  • January 15, 2010, TCEQ received the 2009 Post Closure Monitoring Report. This report showed that the elevated concentrations of metals seen in last years' report have decreased. Regular annual sampling resumed.
  • Janaury 2013, quaterly groundwater monitoring was conducted.

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Site Specific Information

EPA ID : None
Location : Von Ormy, Bexar County
Site Status : Cleanup Complete O & M
Type of Facility : Commercial Sand and Clay Pit
Category : Listed on Registry
Media Affected : Soil
Latitude : 29º10'29"N
Longitude : -98º34'58"W
Hazard Ranking Score (HRS) : 14.16
Contaminants at time of HRS : Heavy Metals, Hydrocarbons (PAH)s, Low-pH Refinery Sludges
TCEQ Region : San Antonio - 13
Funded by : Potentially Responsible Parties

Contact Information

Superfund Project Manager
Mary Simpson
512-239-4848 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

San Antonio Public Library
600 Soledad Street
San Antonio TX 78205
210/207-2500

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