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EPA Adds Corpus Christi Site to Federal Cleanup Priorities List

Release Date: 9/5/2002
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added the Brine Service Company site about 6 miles west of downtown Corpus Christi, Texas, to the federal Superfund National Priorities List (NPL), EPA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) announced today. Because of the listing, EPA can now begin to clean up the site.

      "Listing this site is an important first step in ensuring that public health and the environment will be protected. The EPA and the TCEQ are committed to work together to clean up this site quickly and efficiently," EPA Regional Administrator Gregg Cooke said.

      TCEQ Chairman Robert J. Huston said, "The TCEQ stands ready to assist the EPA in addressing problem sites such as this one. Continued cooperation between our agencies is essential to clean up all contaminated properties, particularly those located in environmentally sensitive areas of our state."

      The site is comprised of two adjacent waste disposal pit areas, one of which is located on property formerly owned and operated by Brine Service Company. This pit area reportedly            received oil field and refinery wastes from as early as 1946 through the 1960s.  

      Sampling of the pit areas revealed the presence of metals, including mercury, as well as several organic compounds. Hazardous substances have migrated to waterways and mercury has been detected in Tule Lake, a brackish shallow water wetland area and a habitat for several State Listed Threatened Species.  

      Tule Lake flows into Corpus Christi Inner Harbor, which in turn flows into Corpus Christi Bay. Corpus Christi Bay is an estuarine subtidal area and has been nominated to the National Estuary Program. The Bay is used for recreational and commercial fishing.

      Sampling in February 2000 by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission confirmed the presence of metals and organic compounds in both pit areas and documented elevated concentrations of mercury in the nearby wetland areas of Tule Lake.  Land use surrounding the Brine Service Company site is commercial/industrial including three refineries located within a mile of the site. Several pipelines traverse the site.

      The EPA Superfund program works closely with state agencies to clean and restore uncontrolled contaminated properties. Superfund cleans sites when the work required is beyond the resources of state and local agencies.

      More information about this site is available on the EPA web site at