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EPA Proposes Freeport 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) proposes to add the Gulfco Marine Maintenance, Inc., site in Freeport, Texas, to the federal Superfund National Priorities List (NPL), EPA and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) announced today. Releases of hazardous substances pose a threat to nearby drinking water wells and downstream sensitive environments, and have impacted fisheries downstream of the facility.

      "Adding this site to the Superfund list makes federal dollars available, allowing EPA and the TCEQ to speed their cleanup and meet the agencies' commitment to protecting public health and our environment," 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 40-acre facility was used as a barge cleaning and servicing facility from 1971 through 1998. Wash waters were stored either in surface impoundments, a floating barge, or  on-site storage tanks. Hazardous substances from wash waters were left behind in solidified sludge when the surface impoundments were capped and certified closed in 1982.

      Releases to soil, ground water and surface water have been verified through soil and water testing. Underlying the Gulfco site is the Chicot/Evangeline aquifer system.  This aquifer system is a major source of municipal and smaller public water supply systems in the Freeport area.

      Contaminated rainwater runs off the site to the south into the Intracoastal Waterway, and to the east into the Drum Bay, Christmas Bay, Bastrop Bay, and Galveston Bay.   Galveston Bay is the seventh largest estuary in the United States and is designated as a National Estuary as part of the National Estuaries Program.  Christmas Bay is designated as the Christmas Bay Coastal Preserve of the Texas Coastal Preserve Program, and harbors eight endangered or threatened species. The 12,199-acre Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge is located to the south of Bastrop Bayou and contains the habitats of three species listed as threatened by the state of Texas.  

      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.

      EPA will seek public comments for 60 days on adding this site to the NPL. Those comments will be addressed before the Agency makes the final decision about adding the site to the NPL. During this public comment period, the Agency will continue to develop cleanup plans so that actual work may begin as quickly as possible after NPL listing.

      The public comment period will end Nov. 4, 2002. More information on making comments is available on the EPA web site at

      Additional information about the Gulfco Marine Maintenance, Inc. site is available on the EPA web site at