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 the Mid-Coastal Region of Texas
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 $242,824 for soil assessment performed at the site during fiscal years 2006 through 2009 and award costs of $30,000 to continue groundwater investigation during fiscal years 2013 and 2016.
In 1995, the RRC became aware of oilfield contamination at former earthen pits located in a rural area within the Nash Dome Oilfield. 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 this site on the Fort Bend/Brazoria county line for restoration. The RRC performed several site investigations and identified widespread contamination (metals and total petroleum hydrocarbons) associated with the pits, including tar mats, sludge, and oily asphaltic material. In 2008, the RRC removed contaminated soil and pit materials. Approximately 3,336 cubic yards of contaminated soil and pit material were taken to an off-site commercial facility for disposal and approximately 8,825 in-place cubic yards were mixed with clean soil and placed back into the pits. Confirmation samples were collected during and following remediation activities and the results verified the effectiveness of cleanup activities.
Groundwater contamination of chlorides and some metals was identified beneath the site, suggesting that the contamination from the pits had migrated into the underlying groundwater. Although the extent of contamination was not determined, there is potential for the groundwater contamination to impact Cow Creek because the groundwater and creek are hydraulically connected. From 2013 to 2016 the RRC intends to perform additional groundwater assessments to determine the nature and extent of contamination.
The project goal is to conserve and restore land contaminated by former oilfield activities to unrestricted use.