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Wortham Lead Salvage

No further Superfund environmental response actions are required on this former lead-acid battery recycler and lead salvage facility in Mabank, Henderson County.

Site Background

The Wortham Lead Salvage site covers approximately 1.328 acres and is located on the north side of U.S. 175, near the intersection of County Road 2938, between Mabank in Kaufman County and Eustace in Henderson County. This site is an abandoned, unpermitted lead salvage operation that extracted lead from car batteries for a nine month period in 1980. The site is adjacent to an automotive maintenance area. A barren area on the site is attributed to the acid collection tank and the battery disassembly operations that were once present. Vehicle batteries were split, and the battery acid was dumped into a vat, neutralized, and taken to the city of Athens for disposal. The casings were crushed, and the plastic was discarded on the site. Some of the acid was allowed to spill on the ground. The recovered lead was shipped to a Dallas smelter for refining. In April 1985, the land was sold. The new owners attempted to clean up the site by removing all structures, selling the metal scrap, and burning the debris. A July 29, 1986, investigation indicated lead contamination in the soil at sufficiently high levels to trigger a mandatory cleanup. A court ruling in August 1986 voided the sale and assigned site responsibilities back to the original owner.

View of the remediated Wortham site from the Southeast.
The Wortham site after Remediation.

Superfund Actions Taken to Date

  • July 25, 1986, a legal notice was published in the Texas Register (11 TexReg 3421-3422) announcing a series of public meetings across the state to collect information and receive comments on constituting the initial state Superfund registry and announcing that a public meeting would be held at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Tyler on August 19, 1986, and a second public meeting would be held at the Stephen F. Austin Building in Austin on August 28, 1986.
  • August 19, 1986, approximately 20 people attended a public meeting at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Tyler. The meeting was held to receive community comments on the proposal to list the Wortham Lead Salvage site on the superfund registry.
  • August 26, 1986, a public meeting was held at the Stephen F. Austin Building in Austin, to receive community comments on the proposal to list the Wortham Lead Salvage site on the superfund registry.
  • January 16, 1987, Wortham Lead Salvage became 1 of 10 sites listed on the first
    Texas Superfund registry
    (12 TexReg 205-206).
  • April 1989, Texas Water Commission issued a work order to a contractor to determine the nature and extent of contamination (remedial investigation / feasibility study).
  • May 15, 1990, a community relations plan was prepared for the Wortham Lead Salvage site.
  • September 19, 1990, a site perimeter fence was constructed to limit unauthorized access and
    signs were posted warning of contamination.
  • February, 1991, the final report was approved, marking completion of the remedial investigation phase.
  • June 28, 1992, a legal notice was published in the Athens Daily Review announcing a public meeting would be held on August 18, 1992, at the Cain Center in Athens to present to the community the best choice among cleanup remedies and to receive comments to be considered in the final recommended remedy.
  • June 26, 1992, a legal notice was published in the Texas Register (17 TexReg 4631–4632) announcing a public meeting would be held on August 18, 1992, at the Cain Center in Athens to present to the community the best choice among cleanup remedies and to receive comments to be considered in the final recommended remedy.
  • August 18, 1992, a public meeting was held in Athens to receive comments on the proposed cleanup alternative, which was to wash the soil and dispose of the contaminants off-site.
  • 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.
  • March 1, 1995, a legal notice was published in the Athens Daily Review announcing a public meeting would be held on April 25, 1995, at the Mabank Chamber of Commerce Hall to present to the community an amended cleanup alternative and to receive comments to be considered in the final recommended remedy.
  • March 10, 1995, a legal notice was published in the Texas Register (20 TexReg 1790) announcing a public meeting would be held on April 25, 1995, at the Mabank Chamber of Commerce Hall to present to the community an amended cleanup alternative and to receive comments to be considered in the final recommended remedy.
  • April 25, 1995, based on information developed since August 18, 1992, a public meeting was held at the Mabank Chamber of Commerce Hall in Mabank to receive comments on an amended cleanup alternative, which was to use a combination of waste management technologies, including screening of the soil to separate the lead, recycling of the salvaged lead and off-site disposal of the waste soil.
  • November 15, 1995, a public meeting was held at Mabank to receive comments on the proposed amended cleanup action levels for lead and lead leachate concentrations.
  • December, 1996, a PRP agreed to perform a removal action at the site. The removal action would include 2,880 cubic yards of contaminated soil, and restoration of excavated areas to ensure positive drainage. All removed material was to be transported off-site to a permitted disposal facility.
  • May 8, 1997, remedial action under way.
  • February 5, 1998, remedial action completed.
  • July 3, 1998, a legal notice was published in the Texas Register (23 TexReg 7137–7138) and the Athens Daily Review proposing to delete the site from the state Superfund registry in accordance with 30 TAC §335.344(c), and inviting public comment on the determination that the site no longer presents an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health and safety or the environment. No further remedial action planned.
  • August 7, 1998, TNRCC issued an agreed administrative order, accepting the sum of $185,000 from the Wortham Lead responsible parties to reimburse the state for costs incurred in cleaning up the site.
  • August 28, 1998, a legal notice was published in the Texas Register (23 TexReg 8916) officially deleting Wortham Lead Salvage from the state Superfund registry in accordance with 30 TAC §335.344(c). No challenges or comments were received to the determination that the site no longer presents an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health and safety or the environment. No further remedial action planned; the property is considered appropriate for residential use.
  • September 1, 2002, effective date of the name change from Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

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Site Specific Information

EPA ID : None
Location : Mabank, Henderson County
Site Status : CLEANUP COMPLETE - NO FURTHER SUPERFUND ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSE ACTIONS ARE REQUIRED
Type of Facility : Lead-Acid Battery Recycler and Lead Salvage
Category : Deleted from Registry
Media Affected : Soil
Latitude : 32º20'54"N
Longitude : -96º04'05"W
Hazard Ranking Score (HRS) : 19.9
Contaminants at time of HRS : Lead
TCEQ Region : Tyler - 5
Funded by : Potentially Responsible Parties

Contact Information

Superfund Program Contact
Jeffrey E. Patterson
Phone: 512-239-2489 or 1-800-633-9363
E-mail: superfnd@tceq.texas.gov

Records Repositories

Henderson County Library
121 S. Prairieville Street
Athens TX 75751
903-677-7295

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