EPA Superfund Program: BRIO REFINING, INC., FRIENDSWOOD, TX

Superfund Site Profile

The 58-acre Brio Refining, Inc. site is located in Harris County, Texas. The company operated a chemical reprocessing and refining facility on site from the 1950s to 1982. Chemical disposal practices contaminated groundwater, surface soils and subsurface soils with hazardous chemicals. Following cleanup, EPA took the site off the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 2006.

Current Status
Elevated ground water contaminant concentrations have been reported in the Fifty-Foot Sand water bearing zone (FFSZ) at the Brio Site. The Brio Site Task Force is completing the field work for an investigation of the FFSZ groundwater at multiple locations on and off site in order to assess the need for further remedial action.

The Site was deleted from the National Priorities List in December 2006. The Fourth Five Year Review was completed in September 2013 and determined that the Site is protective in the short term. The remedial action has removed the exposure pathways that could have resulted in unacceptable risks by preventing exposure of human receptor populations to contaminated air, soils, and groundwater. Long term protectiveness will be achieved by continuing the monitoring of air, groundwater, and surface water to assess the effectiveness of the Site controls. The affected FFSZ groundwater, currently under investigation, will be evaluated during the next five-year review, scheduled for completion in 2018.

Background

This 58 acre site is located almost 20 miles south of Houston at 2501 Dixie Farm Road in southern Harris County, Texas. The Brio Refining Site was used as a chemical re-processing and refining facility from the 1950's to 1982. A neighboring residential subdivision (now abandoned and the homes removed) was located along and north of the northern boundary of the Site. Mud Gully, a flood control ditch and local tributary of Clear Creek, runs along the western boundary of the site. Most of the feedstock materials for processing at Brio were stored in on-site pits, many of which were located on Brio North. However, the disposal areas were on both the Brio North and South sites. All of the pits were closed before the site ceased operations in December 1982.

The majority of the contamination at the Site was found near the former storage pit areas. EPA issued a Record of Decision on March 31, 1988, that selected on-site incineration of pit residuals, removal of surface contamination, channel improvements to Mud Gully, demobilization of remaining process equipment, removal of dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPL), and pump and treat for groundwater in the numerous sand channel zone (NSCZ).

Excavation began at Pit R on Brio South, and emission problems during excavation led to a "stop work" order. Subsequently, an amended Record of Decision was signed by the EPA on July 2, 1997. Instead of incineration, the amended ROD selected containment including a vertical barrier wall, site cover, groundwater flow control, air monitoring, long term groundwater monitoring, and channel improvements to Mud Gully.

Benefits
The completion of construction activities in 2004 provided long-term reduction of risk to human health. The subsurface barrier wall and groundwater control system ensured that contaminated groundwater is contained underneath the site and will not discharge into surface water. The multi-layer cover system over the site reduces the risk from direct contact with the residual wastes at the site.
The site is currently ready for anticipated use (non-residential), although any future use must not disturb the cap over the waste materials.

National Priorities Listing (NPL) History
Proposed Date: 10/05/1984
Final Date: 3/31/1989
Deletion Proposal Date: 06/23/2006
Final Deletion Date: 12/28/2006


SITE STATUS

Construction
Complete?
Yes (04/28/2004)
Human Exposure
Status

Under Control
Contaminated Ground
Water Status
Under Control
Site-Wide Ready for
Anticipated Use?
Yes