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Pioneer Oil Refining Company

This former oil refinery in Somerset, Bexar County is currently in the Operation and Maintenance phase of the Superfund Program.

Site Background

The Pioneer Oil Refining site (the site) is located outside Somerset, adjacent to the municipal sewage treatment plant at 20280 South Payne Road. This site is the location of an abandoned oil refinery. The facility has been inoperative since 1948. At the time the facility operated, it produced oil and oil products, including roofing tar. The site includes two large pits and two brick tanks, all of which contain a tar-like hydrocarbon substance.

Superfund Actions Taken to Date

  • September 25, 1990, a legal notice was published in the Texas Register (15 TexReg 5623-5624) describing the site, proposing the site to the state Superfund registry, and announcing that a public meeting to receive citizen comments would be held at the Community Center in Somerset on October 31, 1990.
  • April 1, 1992, remedial investigation under way.
  • 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.
  • October 15, 1996, remedial investigation completed for the soils and sludge.
  • August 15, 1997, the baseline risk assessment completed on the soils and sludge.
  • October 15, 1997, remedial investigation completed on the groundwater.
  • October 15, 1998, the baseline risk assessment was completed on the groundwater.
  • June 15, 1999, a field investigation was conducted to accurately estimate the volume of contaminated soils and sludge.
  • October 15, 2000, a feasibility study for the stabilization of the sludge on site was completed.
  • September 28, 2001, TNRCC issued a work order for additional remedial investigation activities to determine the extent of soil and groundwater contamination.
  • October 22, 2001, TNRCC issued a work order for an on-site pilot-scale stabilization study using varying proportions of a mixture of the waste sludge in two impoundments with on-site soil and cement.
  • October 26, 2001, Roy F. Weston technicians completed collection of soil and groundwater samples to define the extent of contamination in the soil and groundwater. The identified contaminated soil was to be used as an on-site source for mixing with the pond sludge and cement.
  • January 15, 2002, TNRCC received the report from Harding Lawson Associates on the pilot-scale treatability study on stabilization of the impoundment sludge. The data obtained from the study was to be incorporated into the remedial design.
  • April 4, 2002, TNRCC approved the feasibility study for the remediation of the impoundment sludge. Stabilization of the sludges and off-site disposal as nonhazardous waste was recommended as the most cost-effective method.
  • May 10, 2002, TNRCC resampled the groundwater monitoring wells to further investigate the groundwater contaminant plume at the site.
  • May 15, 2002, an updated community relations plan was prepared for the Pioneer Oil Refining site.
  • August 2, 2002, TNRCC continued to sample the groundwater monitoring wells.
  • September 1, 2002, effective date of the name change from Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
  • November 15, 2002, another round of field investigation was completed by TCEQ's contractor. The monitor wells were also sampled again.
  • January 28, 2003, TCEQ's contractor initiated a pump test of the groundwater to determine aquifer characteristics. The information was to be used in the feasibility study of groundwater treatment remedies.
  • March 2003, a geophysical survey of the site was completed. TCEQ issued a work order to the contractor to amend the feasibility study.
  • April 2003, TCEQ issued a work order to the consultant to install three monitor wells at the site. Another round of groundwater sampling was conducted.
  • May 2003, the three deep monitor wells were installed and another round of groundwater samples was collected.
  • June 2003, soil samples were collected and analyzed to delineate benzene contamination in the soil. Groundwater samples were collected and analyzed to calculate a cleanup level for total petroleum hydrocarbons. The volume of the contaminated soil was also calculated to amend the feasibility study.
  • July 2003, quarterly sampling of the site's monitoring wells was performed. Natural attenuation parameters of the groundwater were also analyzed from selected monitor wells.
  • January 2004, TCEQ issued a work order for the contractor to conduct the first phase of a Tier 2 site limited ecological risk assessment and provide a report.
  • February 2004, the site limited ecological risk assessment report was received and a work order was issued for a second phase Tier 2 report.
  • July-August 2004, TCEQ's contractor sampled the groundwater monitoring wells.
  • November 2004, the screening level ecological risk assessment was reviewed and approved.
  • April 2007, the pilot scale treatability study was started.
  • May 21, 2007, the treatability study to determine potential methods to control the plume migration will continue until mid-July. Field experiments with bio-sparging, injection of chemical oxidants, and Regenesis ORC Advanced are being used.
  • August 20, 2007, a status report of the treatability study was received from the contractor. The study will continue for three more months.
  • October 22, 2007, the treatability study to evaluate a plume management zone as a remedy for the groundwater plume is continued.
  • March 7, 2008, a legal notice Exit TCEQ Site was published in the Texas Register (33 TexReg 2061-2062), San Antonio Express-News and the Lytle Leader-News (March 6)inviting public comment on a proposed remedy of consolidation and solidification of the sludge, establishment of a plume management zone to monitor natural attenuation of the polluted groundwater at the Pioneer Oil Refining site. A deed notice is to be filed in the Bexar County real property records, describing the fenced containment area and the plume management zone.
    A public meeting to receive citizen comments will be held April 17, 2008 at the Someset City Hall, 7360 East Sixth Street.
  • April 17, 2008, the proposed remedy for the site was presented to the public at a meeting held at the City Hall, City of Somerset, and there were no objections to the proposed remedy.
  • September 28, 2008, an administrative Order was presented and approved by Commissioners.
  • October 2008, the selected remedy was approved at the Commissioner's Agenda meeting. The Remedial Design was started.
  • December 2008, the contents of the two on-site brick tanks were sampled and analyzed.
  • Febuary 2009, The Remedial Design was finalized.
  • July 9, 2009, Remedial action started and the contractor began field trials to stabilize the impoundment sludges.
  • March 31, 2010, The remedial action for the impoundment sludge and contaminated soil was completed by stabilizing the sludge and contaminated soil and placing the treated materials in an on-site waste control unit.
  • April 6, 2010, Hydromulching of the Waste Control Unit (onsite landfill) and the backfilled areas was completed and the contractor demobilized.
  • July 1, 2010, Remedial action for soil and sludge is complete.
  • July 15, 2010, Monitor wells were sampled to establish PMZ baseline data.
  • August 6, 2010, Remediation of contaminated soil and sludge was completed. Plume Management Zone (PMZ) was established as groundwater remedy.
  • December 2010: Quarterly groundwater monitoring and Waste Control Unit (WCU) inspection started. First event was conducted in December.
  • March 2011, the quarterly groundwater monitoring and WCU inspection were conducted.
  • June 2011, the quarterly groundwater monitoring and WCU inspection were conducted.
  • October 2011, the quarterly groundwater monitoring and WCU inspection were conducted.
  • January 2012, the quarterly groundwater monitoring and WCU inspection were conducted.
  • April 2012, the quarterly groundwater monitoring and WCU inspection were conducted.
  • July 2012, the quarterly groundwater monitoring and WCU inspection were conducted.
  • October 2012, the quarterly groundwater monitoring and WCU inspection were conducted.
  • January 2013, the quarterly groundwater monitoring and WCU inspection were conducted.

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Site Specific Information

EPA ID : None
Location : Somerset, Bexar County
Site Status : Cleanup Complete - O & M
Type of Facility : Oil Refinery
Category : Proposed to Registry
Media Affected : Groundwater, Soil, Surface, Water
Latitude : 29º12'42"N
Longitude : -98º38'55"W
Hazard Ranking Score (HRS) : 24.5
Contaminants at time of HRS : Hydrocarbons, including Benzene, Benzopyrene, Napthalene, Toluene
TCEQ Region : San Antonio - 13
Funded by : Hazardous & Solid Waste Remediation Fee Account

Contact Information

Superfund Project Manager
Subhash Pal P.E.
512-239-4513 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

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

City of Somerset
Administrative Office

7360 East 6th Street
Somerset, TX 78069
830/429-3639

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