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Materials Recovery Enterprises

This former Class I industrial solid waste management facility in Ovalo, Taylor County is currently in the Operation and Maintenance phase of the Superfund Program.

Site Background

The facility known as Materials Recovery Enterprises (MRE) (the site) is located approximately 4 miles southwest of Ovalo, near U.S. 83 and Farm Road 604. The company received a permit in 1978 from the Texas Department of Water Resources to use a former Atlas missile silo to operate a Class I industrial solid waste management facility. MRE received waste from 1978 to 1982. Texas Department of Water Resources and Texas Water Commission inspectors noted violations of the permit during routine inspections. Texas Water Commission inspectors found the facility to be abandoned in 1988.

Superfund Actions Taken to Date

  • August 15, 1995, a hazard ranking system (HRS) document was prepared for the Materials Recovery Enterprises site.
  • July 23, 1997, the TNRCC notified approximately 75 companies that they may be liable for costs of investigation and remediation of the Materials Recovery Enterprises (MRE) site. The notifications named the companies as potentially responsible parties (PRPs) and requested that they negotiate the terms of an agreed administrative order to conduct a remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) at the site. During the period from July 1997 through May 1998, the TNRCC completed negotiations with the 35 companies that agreed to the requirements of the administrative order.
  • July 24, 1997, a legal notice was published in the Tuscola Journal, describing the site, proposing the site for listing on the state Superfund registry, and announcing that a public meeting to receive citizen comments would be held at Jim Ned High School in Tuscola on September 4, 1997.
  • July 25, 1997, a legal notice was published in the Texas Register, (22 TexReg 6970-6971) describing the site and proposing the site for listing on the state Superfund registry. A public meeting to receive citizen comments was to be held at Jim Ned High School in Tuscola on September 4, 1997.
  • August 21, 1997, a notice was published in the Tuscola Journal, announcing that a public meeting to receive citizen comments on the proposal of the Materials Recovery Enterprises site for listing on the state Superfund registry would be held at Jim Ned High School in Tuscola on September 4, 1997.
  • September 4, 1997, a public meeting was held at Jim Ned High School in Tuscola to receive citizen comments on the proposal of the Materials Recovery Enterprises site to the state Superfund registry.
  • June 1, 1998, TNRCC issued an agreed administrative order, directing the potentially responsible party to perform or fund the remedial investigation and feasibility study for the cleanup.
  • June 11, 1998, the agreed administrative order became effective. The responding parties initiated the remedial investigation and feasibility study for the site.
  • January 15, 1999, the remedial investigation work plan of the PRP consultant was
    approved by TNRCC.
  • March 3, 1999, remedial investigation field work was completed by the PRPs consultant.
  • June 4, 1999, remedial investigation draft report received by TNRCC for review.
  • July 16, 1999, a legal notice was published in the Texas Register, (24 TexReg 5594- 5595) proposing non-residential land use specifications for remediation of the site contamination. The land use designation may be considered in any remedial action proposed for the site. A public meeting was to be held August 26, 1999, at the Tuscola Community Center to receive citizen comments.
  • August 26, 1999, a public meeting was held at the Tuscola Community Center to receive comments on the proposed non-residential land use for the site.
  • September 2, 1999, the TNRCC approved the PRPs consultant's remedial investigation report.
  • September 3, 1999, a community relations plan was prepared for the Materials Recovery Enterprises site.
  • December 1, 1999, TNRCC accepted the PRP's notice of intent to conduct a site assessment under the Texas Risk Reduction process standards.
  • November 13, 2000, TNRCC approved the potentially responsible parties protective concentration limits (PCLs) for the site and the potentially responsible parties Tier 1 ecological exclusion criteria checklist for the site.
  • November 22, 2000, TNRCC received the draft response action plan from the potentially responsible parties, which detailed the proposed steps to address the contamination on the property.
  • April 17, 2001, TNRCC approved the remedial action plan and also approved the PRPs completion of the RI/FS administrative order.
  • August 15, 2001, a proposed remedial action document (PRAD) was prepared for the Materials Recovery Enterprises site.
  • October 4, 2001, a legal notice was published in the Tuscola Journal, announcing a public meeting would be held November 8, 2001, at Jim Ned High School Cafetorium to present to the community the best choice among cleanup remedies and justification for how the remedy demonstrates compliance with the relevant cleanup standards.
  • October 5, 2001, a legal notice Exit TCEQ Site was published in the Texas Register, announcing a public meeting would be held November 8, 2001, at Jim Ned High School Cafetorium to present to the community the best choice among cleanup remedies and justification for how the remedy demonstrates compliance with the relevant cleanup standards.
  • November 8, 2001, twenty-five interested citizens signed the register at a public meeting at Jim Ned High School Cafetorium. The meeting was to provide information on the proposed cleanup alternatives, which addressed several areas of concern:
    • the water within the evaporation pond was to be pumped out and treated onsite and then discharged to the drainage ditch leading to the south;
    • the sludge within the pond was to be pumped or excavated and transferred to the silo;
    • the plastic liner from the pond was to be removed and placed into the silo;
    • the contents of the loading dock sump was to be removed by pumping or excavation and placed into the silo;
    • a six-inch layer of reinforced concrete was to cover the entire silo area, including all openings and air vents;
    • tests on a buried plastic liner and nearby subsurface soils show no danger posed to human health or the environment; no further remedial action was planned.
  • January 18, 2002, TNRCC sent out notification letters to potentially responsible parties, requesting a response to commit to funding the remedial design and to implement a remedial action under an order with the commission.
  • March 25, 2002, TNRCC received a good faith offer from a group of PRPs.
  • April 30, 2002, TNRCC began negotiations with the potentially responsible parties on a remedial design/remedial action administrative order to perform the cleanup remedy at the site.
  • July 8, 2002, TNRCC staff traveled to Tuscola to meet with Taylor County Judge Victor Carrillo; Taylor County Commissioner Stan Egger; Professor Herbert Grover, of Hardin-Simmons University; and the staff of state legislators' offices to discuss the remedy for the MRE site.
  • August 13, 2002, TNRCC staff traveled to Abilene to meet with the Taylor County Commissioners Court to discuss the county's concerns over the remedy for the silo portion of the site. At this meeting, the Taylor County Commissioners passed a resolution strongly objecting to the TNRCC's proposed response action plan for the silo in that it did not call for the removal of the 1.7 million gallons of contaminated water from the silo.
  • September 1, 2002, effective date of the name change from Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
  • February 13, 2003: added August 15, 1995, information.
  • April 2003, an updated community relations plan was prepared for the Materials Recovery Enterprises site.
  • June 2003, a copy of the proposed revision to the remedy selection document (formerly known as remedial action document) was prepared for the Materials Recovery Enterprises site. The text of the Proposed Revision to the Remedy Selection Document may be viewed or downloaded from this TCEQ Superfund web site. The complete proposed revision to the remedy selection document is available as part of official repository records at the Abilene Public Library or the Tuscola City Hall Mayor's Office and the TCEQ Records Management Center.
  • June 27, 2003, a legal notice Exit TCEQ Site was published in the Texas Register, (28 TexReg 4969), announcing a proposed revision to the selected remedy for the site. A public meeting to receive citizen comments, was to be held at the Jim Ned High School cafetorium on July 31, 2003.
  • July 31, 2003, a public meeting was held to receive citizen comments on the the proposed revision to the selected remedy for the site.
  • September 12, 2003, TCEQ 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.
  • September 22, 2003, effective date of a TCEQ administrative order for performance of the remedial design / remedial action. By issuing the order, TCEQ has determined that the facility poses an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health and safety or the environment. The site has been moved from the proposed category to listed on the state Superfund registry.
  • February 2004, TCEQ received the final remedial design documents. The consultant for the potentially responsible parties is preparing to initiate water treatment operation.
  • April 2004, the potentially responsible parties' consultant began set-up and operation of the water treatment plant and the sprinkler evaporation system.
  • May 2004, set-up of the water treatment plant and the sprinkler evaporation system was completed.
  • June 2004, TCEQ approved changes in the final grading plan for the evaporation pond.
  • July 2004, TCEQ approved the consultant's request to modify the site grading plan, and proposed interim steps to close a portion of the evaporation pond. The consultant closed a portion of the evaporation pond.
  • November 2004, the filtering and evaporation treatment of liquids from the silo was shut down for the winter due to a lack of heat for the evaporation process.
  • December 2004–April 2005: During implementation of the selected remedial action in 2004, approximately two feet per day of silo water was evaporated on-site during the summer and fall of 2004. However, during the months of August, October, and November of 2004, excessive rainfall created a large volume of storm water which was captured in the on-site irrigation area, thus negating much of the progress in water evaporation. Therefore, as proposed by the potentially responsible parties, the TCEQ modified the selected remedial action so that accumulated storm water and approximately half of the silo water would be disposed of in an approved off-site disposal well. The remaining silo water would be solidified using fluidized bed ash and then returned to the silo to form a solid fill. Other aspects of the previously selected remedy were not changed.
  • April 22, 2005, a legal notice Exit TCEQ Site was published in the Texas Register (30 TexReg 2445–2446) and the Tuscola Journal that the remedial action to dispose of excess water has been modified further.
  • May 2005, additional fencing was installed around the open silo door to secure the opening, and a larger pump was installed in the silo to move more water for off-site disposal. On May 10, 2005, the consultants hired by the potentially responsible parties began loading accumulated storm water for off-site disposal. By May 24, 2005, the water in the irrigation area and evaporation pond had been removed. The consultants then started excavating the irrigation area and the evaporation pond, and collected soil samples to confirm that all chemicals of concern had been removed. Off-site disposal of silo water began in mid-May 2005, and is continuing.
  • August 15, 2005, following a review of the remedial action report and supporting documents, approval was granted for a change in the designation to cleanup complete.
  • May 18, 2006, post-construction activities plan was approved, starting the period of long-term monitoring to ensure the stability of the cap.
  • October 22, 2009, TCEQ approved annual inspection report dated 9/29/09.  There has been no subsidence of the concrete-capped waste in the missile silo.
  • September 2010, TCEQ approved the annual inspection report dated August 17, 2010.  Waste in the missile silo remains stable.  The next inspection report is due in 2015.

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Site Specific Information

EPA ID : TXD000803502
Location : Ovalo, Taylor County
Site Status : Cleanup Complete O&M
Type of Facility : Class I Industrial Solid Waste Management
Category : Listed on Registry
Media Affected : Soil
Latitude : 32º07'53"N
Longitude : -99º51'17"W
Hazard Ranking Score (HRS) : 16.5
Contaminants at time of HRS : Cyanide, Metals, Organic Solvents, Pesticides
TCEQ Region : Abilene - 3
Funded by : Potentially Responsible Parties

Contact Information

Superfund Project Manager
Stephen Ellis
512-239-5337 or 1-800-633-9363
E-mail: superfnd@tceq.texas.gov

Superfund Community Relations Liaison
John Flores
512-239-5674 or 1-800-633-9363
E-mail: superfnd@tceq.texas.gov

Records Repositories

Abilene Public Library
202 Cedar Street
Abilene TX 79601
325-677-2474

Tuscola City Hall Mayor's Office
418 Graham Street
Tuscola TX 79562
325-554-7766

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