The Railroad Commission of Texas will be closed Wednesday, Nov. 22 through Friday, Nov. 24 in observance of Thanksgiving. The RRC will reopen for regular business Monday morning, Nov. 27. We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday.
Texas Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP)
Assessment and Remediation of Abandoned Oilfield Pits in Kleberg County
This project was partially funded with qualified outer continental shelf oil and gas revenues by the Coastal Impact Assistance Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This includes pre-award costs of $584,384 for soil assessment and remediation performed at the site during fiscal year 2009 and award costs of $15,000 to perform additional assessment and possible remediation during fiscal year 2012.
The RRC granted authority in November 1981 to Steve's Oilfield Services, Inc., (Steve's) to maintain and use an unlined pit in Kleberg County for the disposal of fresh water based drilling fluid. In July 1989, the RRC concluded that the pit had reached its useful life capacity (190,000 barrel capacity per Form H-11) and contained a high fluid chloride content (chloride concentrations ranged from 8,500 parts per million (ppm) to 12,000 ppm). The RRC requested that the operator dewater and backfill the pit and in May 1990 issued a 'Cancellation of Authority to Maintain and Use the pit. The operator failed to take corrective action and filed bankruptcy. Due to the potential threat of contamination to the environment and the inability to identify a responsible party to pay for cleanup expenses, the RRC selected the site for assessment and remediation.
In 2006, the RRC characterized the pit contents and estimated the volume of waste in the pit to be 9,630 cubic yards. Analysis of the pit material revealed the presence of contaminants, including total petroleum hydrocarbons, arsenic, barium, lead, mercury, and chloride. In 2008 and 2010, groundwater contamination was identified at the site. Based on the type and extent of contamination, the RRC implemented a clay cap to contain and to prevent the spread of the contamination. The RRC will perform maintenance activity to ensure the physical integrity of the cap and to determine remediation effectiveness during fiscal year 2012. In addition, RRC staff will implement an institutional control that restricts property use to commercial/industrial purposes, prohibits the use of the groundwater beneath the property, and subjects the property to an engineered control plan.
The project goal is to conserve and restore land contaminated by former oilfield activities.