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EPA adds Falcon Refinery to national priorities list

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Posted: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 12:00 pm

On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency added Falcon Refinery in Ingleside to its National Priorities List.

“[The list] is intended to indicate which sites need further investigation and allows us to use Superfund money if the site needs cleaning,” explained EPA remedial project manager Rafael Casanova.

“Without that listing, we can’t use Superfund money to clean it up.”

In 2004, the EPA issued an administrative order of consent with the site’s owner, the National Oil Recovery Corporation (NORCO) to list the property as an alternative site.  This listing indicates that the owner would fund the investigation and subsequent cleanup, if needed, of the premises.

Currently, the property is undergoing an investigation and feasibility study which, according to Casanova, would investigate all media, groundwater, service water, sediments and soils.

The investigation was expected to completed in 2010, but NORCO ran out of funds before the investigation’s completion.  In March 2011, an EPA work takeover was issued.

“As part of the agreement order, EPA would do work if NORCO was unable to complete the work under a $500,000 letter of credit from the company.”

Casanova also mentioned that all that has been completed is a summary of the site and that data gathering was still taking place.

“Once we’ve gathered data, we will release a proposed plan where we’ll write whether to take action of no action,” said Casanova.

“After that, there will be a public comment period for 30 days, and then we’ll issue a record of decision and a consent decree, ordering the company to do a cleanup if necessary.  We are looking at the schedule right now, and we expect to finish the investigation in 2012.”

Falcon Refinery, which opened in 1980 and is currently inactive, is located on the corner of FM 2725 and Bishop Road.  During operation, the refinery produced naptha, jet fuel, kerosene, diesel and fuel oil.

In February 2010, approximately one million gallons of crude oil leaked from a cracked storage tank on the property, which contaminated nearby freshwater marshes and wildlife living in the area.

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