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State Highway 123 PCE Plume

This groundwater plume in San Marcos, Hays County is currently in the Operation and Maintenance phase of the Superfund Program.

Site Background

The State Highway 123 PCE Plume site (the site) is a contaminated groundwater plume from an unknown source near the intersection of State Highway 123 and Interstate Highway 35 (IH-35) in San Marcos, Hays County. The groundwater plume has been documented to extend from the intersection of State Highway 123 and the IH-35 access road, toward Willow Springs Creek. The groundwater emerges through springs that flow into Willow Springs Creek, which is a tributary of the San Marcos River. The creek flows into the river east of IH-35. The springs are located on privately-owned land, currently used for grazing cattle. The access to the springs is fenced and locked.

Superfund Actions Taken to Date

  • August 15, 2000, a copy of the hazard ranking system (HRS) documentation record was prepared for the State Highway 123 PCE Plume site.
  • January 26, 2001, a legal notice Exit TCEQ Site was published in the Texas Register, (26 TexReg 1033) and the San Marcos Record, describing the site, proposing the site for listing on the state Superfund registry, also proposing commercial/industrial land use specifications for remediation of the site. The land use specifications may be considered in any remedial action proposed for the site. A public meeting to receive citizen comments, was to be held at the San Marcos Public Library on February 27, 2001.
  • February 27, 2001, a public meeting, which was scheduled at the San Marcos Public Library was moved to the adjacent Activity Center to accommodate the larger than anticipated attendance. The meeting was to receive community comments on the proposal of the State Highway 123 PCE Plume site to be listed on the Superfund registry and the proposal to use commercial/industrial land use specifications for remediation of the site contamination.
  • May 4, 2001, access agreement forms were sent to the property owners in the study area, requesting them to sign and return the form that would grant permission to sample their property.
  • May 15, 2001, a community relations plan was prepared for the State Highway 123 PCE Plume site.
  • October 31, 2001, TNRCC issued a work order to initiate the first phase of the field investigation of soil and groundwater.
  • March 12, 2002, TNRCC approved the technical memorandum for the first phase soil and groundwater remedial investigation. The report indicated additional investigation of the groundwater plume is needed.
  • April 22, 2002, about 20 interested citizens met with representatives of the TNRCC during an availability session to receive information about the soil, groundwater, springs and surface water investigation results. The availability session ran from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the City of San Marcos Activity Center.
  • July 6, 2002, TNRCC concluded that analytical results of tissue taken from fish in Willow Springs Creek showed fish from the creek would be safe for human consumption.
  • July 20, 2002, TNRCC issued a work order for the phase 2 soil and groundwater investigation.
  • August 19, 2002, TNRCC conducted additional soil borings and monitor well installations.
  • September 1, 2002, effective date of the name change from Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
  • November 4, 2002, requests for access to property were sent to owners of property south of the study area.
  • December 3, 2002, TCEQ met with owners of property in the study area to discuss access agreements.
  • December 20, 2002, TCEQ's contractor completed the third phase field work of the remedial investigation.
  • January 16, 2003, TCEQ surveyed the sampling points, using a backpack Global Positioning System unit.
  • January 27, 2003, TCEQ approved the second phase technical memorandum, which included the ecological assessment.
  • February 10, 2003, TCEQ approved the third technical memorandum and sent a copy of the document to the repository in the San Marcos Public Library.
  • February 20, 2003, TCEQ issued a work order to the contractor to prepare a plan for the fourth phase of the investigation.
  • March 6, 2003, TCEQ approved the scope of work for the fourth phase that was prepared by the contractor.
  • March 12, 2003, TCEQ issued a work order to go ahead with the fourth phase of the remedial investigation.
  • March 28, 2003, the fourth phase of the remedial investigation was completed.
  • May 9, 2003, TCEQ staff visited the site to assess the need for property access agreements for the next phase of the field activities.
  • May 12, 2003, TCEQ sent out notice letters to the owners of properties which will be involved in the next sampling activities at the site.
  • May 17, 2003, TCEQ aproved the data usability summary submitted by the contractor.
  • June 16, 2003, the TCEQ project manager visited the site to identify the soil gas sampling locations.
  • June 21-22, 2003, TCEQ's contractor performed a soil gas survey. Installation of tempory piezometers was completed.
  • June 23-24, 2003, quarterly sampling was conducted. The quarterly sampling included sampling of the groundwater, the springs that flow into Willow Creek, and surface water in the immediate area.
  • July 26-27, 2003, A second soil gas survey was performed.
  • August 18, 2003, TCEQ approved a data usability summary report from the contractor for the June 2003 sampling events.
  • August 23-24, 2003, three additional monitoring wells were installed and sampled.
  • August 25, 2003, slug tests were performed at five selected monitoring wells to assess groundwater characteristics.
  • August 26, 2003, two additional borings were completed on two residential properties.
  • October 3, 2003, the locations of the three new monitoring wells were surveyed.
  • October 14, 2003, TCEQ issued a work order to the contractor to continue quarterly sampling.
  • October 23, 2003: added January 16, 2003-August 26, 2003, information.
  • November 2003, TCEQ issued a work order for additional remedial investigation and a pre-feasibility study technical memorandum.
  • January 2004, TCEQ approved the fourth technical memorandum for the remedial investigation, as well as the data usability studies for soil vapors investigation and the October 2003 sampling event. TCEQ also oversaw the quarterly groundwater monitoring, the soil boring and the piezometer installations during the month.
  • February 2004, TCEQ issued a work order to the contractor to perform an interim screening level environmental risk analysis and provide a report.
  • March 2004, a work order was issued for the final report on remedial investigation.
  • April 2004, the contractor performed the quarterly groundwater monitoring.
  • June 2004, a work order was issued for additional soil sampling and installation and sampling of three additional monitor wells at two properties. Also during the month, the three monitoring wells were installed and sampled.
  • July 2004, a work order amendment was issued to the contractor to complete the final remedial investigation report.
  • August 12, 2004, TCEQ's contractor performed the quarterly groundwater monitoring.
  • August 25, 2004, the final remedial investigation report was approved.
  • November 2004, a work order was issued for additional field work at the site. TCEQ also oversaw the quarterly groundwater monitoring by the contractor.
  • December 9, 2004, a proposed remedial action document was prepared for the State Highway 123 PCE Plume site.
  • December 17, 2004, a legal notice Exit TCEQ Site was published in the Texas Register (29 TxReg 11776-11777), and the San Marcos Daily Record, announcing a public meeting would be held January 20, 2005, at the San Marcos Activity Center to present to the community a proposed selection of remedy and to receive citizen comments to be considered in the final recommended remedy.
  • January 20, 2005, a public meeting was held to receive citizen comments on the proposed selection of remedy for the site.
  • February 22-23, 2005, the contractor performed the quarterly groundwater monitoring.
  • April 2005, data usability summary reports were reviewed for the February 2005 and November 2004 quarterly sampling events. A review of presumptive remedy documents was initiated, and an operation and maintenance plan was completed.
  • May 2005, the contractor performed the quarterly groundwater monitoring.
  • July 29, 2005, effective date of an administrative order declaring the site a plume management zone and proposing monitored natural attenuation as the remedy. Institutional controls will help ensure that no unacceptable exposure occurs to public health or the environment. Groundwater will be monitored quarterly through fiscal year 2006. The site is suitable for residential use.
  • September 2005, the TCEQ project manager met with the new property owner to discuss plugging and abandoning the monitor well on the property.
  • October 2005, groundwater sampling event performed.
  • January 2006, the operations and maintenance report was reviewed and approved. A work order was issued to disposal of the investigation derived waste.
  • February 2006, investigation derived waste was disposed of at an approved disposal site.
  • March 2006, the operations and maintenance report was approved.
  • August 2007, the draft groundwater monitoring report was received.
  • October 29, 2009, a work order was issued for an O&M sampling event, which is tentatively scheduled for January 2009.
  • January 2010, thirteen monitor wells were sampled, and two surface water samples in Willow Springs Creek were taken. The sample results show that PCE concentrations are above the Action Level in six wells in the plume management zone. The surface water samples collected from Willow Springs Creek and did not show detections for any contaminant of concern above its Action Level.
  • July 2011, the TCEQ sampled monitoring wells in the plume management zone and sampled two surface water locations in Willow Springs Creek. Samples were analyzed for tetracholroethene (PCS), trichloroethene (TCE), cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cis 1,2-DCE) and vinyl chloride.
  • November-December, 2011, TCEQ mailed result letters to residents and occupants regarding the monitoring well sampling event conducted in July 2011.
  • May 2012, the TCEQ sampled 10 monitoring wells and two surface water samples in Willow Springs Creek. The 10 wells were chosen in an effort to stramline the monitored natural attenuation investigation.
  • September 2012, letters with sampling results from the May 2012 sampling event were mailed to property owners.
  • December 2012, sampling was conducted on four wells and in Willow Creek.

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Site Specific Information

EPA ID : TX0001576370
Location : San Marcos, Hays County
Site Status : Cleanup Complete O&M
Type of Facility : PCE Plume
Category : Listed on Registry
Media Affected : Groundwater, Soil
Latitude : 29º52´09"N
Longitude : -97º56´07"W
Hazard Ranking Score (HRS) : 12
Contaminants at time of HRS : PCE
TCEQ Region : Austin - 11
Funded by : Hazardous & Solid Waste Remediation Fee Account

Contact Information

Superfund Project Manager
Adrienne Love
512-239-2273 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 Marcos Public Library
625 E. Hopkins Street
San Marcos TX 78666
512-393-8200

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