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AGENCY Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
ISSUE 06/09/2006
ACTION Miscellaneous

Notice of Meeting on July 20, 2006, in Houston, Texas Concerning the ArChem Company/Thames Chelsea Chemical Company USA Superfund Site

The purpose of the meeting is to obtain public input and information concerning the proposed remedy for the ArChem Company/Thames Chelsea Chemical Company USA Site (site).

The executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ or commission) is issuing this public notice of a proposed selection of remedy for the ArChem Company/Thames Chelsea Company USA Site. In accordance with 30 TAC §335.349(a) concerning requirements for the remedial action, and Texas Health and Safety Code (THSC), §361.187 concerning the proposed remedial action, a public meeting regarding the commission's selection of a proposed remedy for the site shall be held. The statute requires that the commission publish a notice of the meeting in the Texas Register and in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the facility is located at least 30 days before the date of the public meeting. This notice was also published in the Houston Chronicle on June 8, 2006. The public meeting is scheduled for July 20, 2006, 7:00 p.m., at Dobie High School, 11111 Beamer Road, Houston, Texas. The public meeting is not a contested case hearing under Texas Government Code, Chapter 2001.

The ArChem Company/Thames Chelsea Company USA Site was proposed for listing on the state registry of Superfund sites in the May 4, 2001, edition of the Texas Register (26 TexReg 3413). The approximate 10-acre site is located at 13103 Conklin Lane near the intersection of Conklin Lane and Beltway 8 in southeast Houston, Harris County, Texas.

The site is a former specialty chemical manufacturing facility, which operated from the 1970s until 1991. A wide range of organic chemicals was used in manufacturing and processing operations at the site. Operations ceased after the Thames Chelsea Chemical Company abandoned the facility. The Texas Water Commission (a predecessor of the TCEQ) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) performed several removal actions in the 1990s to address the immediate public health and environmental concerns from the deteriorating chemical drums and above ground storage tanks (ASTs) at the site.

Current structures at the facility include an office and warehouse building, concrete foundations in the former process areas, a sludge drying bed, and containment areas associated with former ASTs. Two surface impoundments associated with wastewater from the operations are located in the eastern portion of the facility.

The H.B. Fuller Company was an owner/operator of the facility before selling the property to the ArChem Company. H.B. Fuller was reported to have manufactured industrial latex coatings and adhesives based on polyvinyl acetate, ethylene vinyl acetate copolymers, and asphaltic emulsions. After a warehouse fire in 1977, H.B. Fuller sold the property to ArChem. The ArChem Company is reported to have produced epoxy curing agents, nitroanisol, and antimony triacetate. The company is reported to have handled or used a wide variety of chemicals, which are detailed in the Hazard Ranking Survey (HRS) and listed in the Phase 2 Field Sampling Plan (FSP).

In 1991 the site was reported to contain at least 15 hazardous waste units used in the management of 14 or more P (acute hazardous wastes) and U (generally hazardous wastes) listed wastes (as defined by the EPA). Approximately 2,000, 55-gallon drums in various states of deterioration were on the site. All sumps, secondary containment systems, and roll-off containers were found full of materials (liquids and solids). The two surface impoundments were also full; and their capacities were estimated at 250,000 and 500,000 gallons. Spills and surface contamination were widespread throughout the site with evidence of contamination in drainage ditches.

In September 1991 the site was determined to be abandoned and was later referred to the State Superfund Program. Two removal actions by the Texas Water Commission and the EPA in 1992 and 1993, and a removal action by a group of potentially responsible parties (PRPs) removed most of the drums, surface tanks, and other materials left on site. The property was fenced to restrict access. A Remedial Investigation (RI) conducted by the TCEQ identified several areas where chemicals of concern (COC) were greater than the critical protective concentration level (PCL). These COCs include antimony, lead, mercury, volatile organic compounds (benzene, toluene and tetrahydrofuran), and semi-volatile organic compounds (2-nitroaniline and furfural). All of these areas have been horizontally and vertically delineated.

Surface water in the west impoundment meets the specifications in the TCEQ issued wastewater discharge criteria for the site. The water in the east impoundment exceeds the discharge criteria for total organic carbon (TOC). A feasibility study, dated August 2005, screened and evaluated remedial alternatives which could be used to remediate the site. The Feasibility Study report developed four alternatives for remediation of soils and two alternatives for remediation of the surface water in the impoundments. The commission prepared the Proposed Remedial Action Document on May 15, 2006. This document presents the proposed remedy and justification for how this remedy demonstrates compliance with the relevant cleanup standards.

Based on the calculated volume of contaminated soil, the recommended remedial alternative is excavation and off-site disposal of the contaminated soil. The recommended alternative is the most cost effective, reasonable, and appropriate remedy to address the site. This remedial alternative includes the excavation and off-site disposal of soil in both impoundments and contaminated site soils. It is estimated that 5,000 cubic yards of in-place soil including the land farm soils would require disposal.

The surface water from the impoundments will be discharged to Harris County flood control ditch A 119-06-00 along the south side of the site. The ditch widens and turns at a point approximately 3/4 of a mile west of the site. At this point, the ditch flows south approximately one and a half miles before discharging into Turkey Creek. Water from the east impoundment will be treated to comply with the TOC discharge requirements. Discharge criteria allow up to 200 gallons per minute to be discharged from the site. The groundwater at the site is designated as Class 3 based on yield, and it is not impacted. Therefore, no remediation is needed for the groundwater.

All persons desiring to make comments may do so prior to or at the public meeting. All comments submitted prior to the public meeting must be received by 5:00 p.m. July 19, 2006, and should be sent in writing to Mr. Subhash C. Pal, P.E., Project Manager, TCEQ, Remediation Division, MC 136, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, Texas 78711-3087, or facsimile at (512) 239-2450. The public comment period for this action will end at the close of the public meeting on July 20, 2006.

A portion of the record for this site including documents pertinent to the proposed remedy is available for review during regular business hours at the Bracewell Branch Library, 10115 Kleckly, Houston, Texas. Copies of the complete public record file may be obtained during business hours at the commission's Records Management Center, Building E, First Floor, Records Customer Service, MC 199, 12100 Park 35 Circle, Austin, Texas 78753, (800) 633-9363 or (512) 239-2920. Photocopying of file information is subject to payment of a fee. Parking for persons with disabilities is available on the east side of Building D, convenient to access ramps that are between Buildings D and E.

Information is also available regarding the state Superfund program at http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/remediation/superfund/state/archem.html.

Persons who have special communication or other accommodation needs who are planning to attend the meeting should contact the agency at (800) 633-9363 or (512) 239-5674. Requests should be made as far in advance as possible.

For further information about this site or the public meeting, please call John Flores, TCEQ Community Relations, at 1-800-633-9363, extension 5674.

TRD-200602950

Stephanie Bergeron Perdue

Deputy Director, Office of Legal Services

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Filed: May 30, 2006



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