On this page:
- What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?
- What Is the Current Site Status?
- EPA’s Involvement at the Site
- Activity and Use Limitations
- Sampling and Monitoring
- Emergency Response and Removal
- Operable Units (opens new page)
- Cleanup Progress (opens new page)
The 55-acre French Limited site is located in Crosby, Harris County, Texas. Site uses between 1950 and 1973 included sand mining and operation of an industrial waste storage and disposal facility. Between 1966 and 1971, 70 million gallons of industrial wastes from petrochemical companies were disposed of on the property. Site activities and waste disposal practices contaminated groundwater, surface water, soil and sludge with hazardous chemicals and heavy metals. Following cleanup, operation and maintenance activities are ongoing.
What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?
The site is being addressed through potentially responsible party (PRP) actions.
What Is the Current Site Status?
The site’s long-term remedy included extraction and treatment of contaminated groundwater; excavation and treatment of contaminated soil and sludge; stabilization of treatment residues; and groundwater monitoring. Remedy construction took place between 1989 and 1994. Groundwater monitoring is ongoing.
The groundwater in-place bioremediation and conventional pump-and-treat system were operational from February 1992 to December 1995. Monitored natural attenuation (MNA) of groundwater began in January 1996.
On August 4, 2014, the EPA conducted a Public Meeting from 6:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Crosby Branch Library, Harris County Library, 135 Hare Road, Crosby, TX 77532, to present the information contained in the July 2014, Proposed Plan. The Proposed Plan presents the EPA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) re-evaluation of the ground water remedy selected in the 1988 Record of Decision (ROD) and considers information derived through additional investigation and performance of the previously selected remedy. This Plan addresses the changes to the ground water remedy only and does not address any changes to the lagoon sludges and/or soil remedy selected in the 1988 ROD because the lagoon sludges and/or soil remedy were previously implemented. This Proposed Plan recommended the following preferred remedial alternative for the Site ground water and identified steps to be taken for continual protection of human health and the environment.
- Contain the ground water contaminant plumes in two shallow ground water zones.
- Ground water cleanup levels for selected chemicals within a Defined Boundary cannot be achieved.
- Prevent exposure to contaminated ground water above acceptable risk levels by implementing Institutional Controls (ICs) to restrict access to, or use of, contaminated water within the Defined Boundary.
- Install additional monitoring wells and conduct short-term monitoring to verify the proposed Defined Boundary; conduct long-term monitoring to ensure that the plume is not expanding and evaluate data periodically.
The EPA, in coordination with the state of Texas, selected a remedy for the Site after reviewing and considering all information and comments submitted during the 30-day public comment period, which began on July 17, 2014, and was to end on August 15, 2014. During the public comment period the EPA received numerous form letters (approximately 40) dated August 7, 2014, requesting that EPA extend the public comment period an additional 60 days. The EPA extended the public comment period, an additional 21 days, until midnight on September 5, 2014. Comments were received during the public meeting that was held on August 4, 2014. A summary of the major comments received during the public meeting and the public comment period are include in the Responsiveness Summary. The EPA has determined that a significant change to the remedy amendment, as originally identified in the Proposed Plan, is not necessary. Significant issues or objections were not raised during the public comment period. The EPA approved and signed the ROD Amendment on September 30, 2014. EPA is in the process of amending the Consent Decree in order to implement the remedy selected in the 2014 ROD Amendment.
EPA has conducted a Five Year Review Inspection of the Site and the report is expected in September 2017.
EPA’s Involvement at the Site
The site was used for sand mining operations between 1950 and 1965. From 1962 until 1973, an industrial waste facility operated at the site under a permit issued by the Texas Water Quality Board for petrochemical waste disposal. The facility's permit was revoked and the facility closed down in 1973.
EPA identified 90 companies potentially responsible for the contamination. These parties formed the French Limited Task Group (FLTG) and agreed to work with EPA, the Texas Water Commission and the community to clean up the site.
Activity and Use Limitations
At this site, activity and use limitations that EPA calls institutional controls are in place. Institutional controls play an important role in site remedies because they reduce exposure to contamination by limiting land or resource use. They also guide human behavior. For instance, zoning restrictions prevent land uses – such as residential uses – that are not consistent with the level of cleanup.
For more background, see Institutional Controls.
State Contact (TCEQ): Marilyn Long, 512-239-0761, Marilyn.Long@tceq.texas.gov
Sampling and Monitoring
The French Limited Task Group annual ground water monitoring program was conducted from February 17 through February 24, 2017. The following conclusions were apparent from the activities performed:
• The ground water flow direction in the S1 Unit was generally inward toward the South Pond under a slight gradient, with a localized ground water flow divide in the Central Plume Area;
• The ground water flow direction in the INT Unit was generally toward the southwest under a slight gradient, except northeast of the Central Plume Area where it flows toward the northeast.
• The extent of affected ground water is consistent with previous results, consistent with the previous finding that the residual mass of Constituents of Concern are contained within the lower permeability soils of the C1 clay and INT Unit.
• The highest concentrations are generally adjacent to the Sheet Pile Wall and decrease with distance away from the Former Lagoon Area.
• No overall plume migration or expansion is apparent.
• A review of the QA/QC results indicates that the data are suitable for the
The next ground water monitoring event is tentatively scheduled for the first
quarter of 2018.
Emergency Response and Removal
Cleanup has also included removal actions, or short-term cleanups, to address immediate threats to human health and the environment. Removal actions included repairing a breached dike; pumping and containment of contaminated sludge; maintaining site security; sampling and analysis; and providing bottled water to affected residents.
During cleanup, a site can be divided into a number of distinct areas depending on its complexity. These areas, called operable units (OUs), may address geographic areas, specific problems, or areas where a specific action is required. Examples of typical operable units include construction of a groundwater pump and treatment system or construction of a cap over a landfill.