Site Investigation and Evaluation of Remediation Alternatives for the Roeling Vacuum Site, Liberty County, Texas

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The Roeling Vacuum site (RRC Site Code 03-50216) in Liberty County, Texas, is a former borrow pit and vacuum-truck washout site. Salt-based drill cuttings were disposed of in the late 1970s, and the site was permitted for drilling-fluid disposal between 1985 and 1990. A complaint from a nearby landowner, along with permit violations, triggered Railroad Commission of Texas (RC) action that led to site closure in 1991. Since then, the RRC has conducted cleanup operations, including removal of storage tanks. The scope of this study was to determine the extent and composition of waste materials, identify impacted areas, determine effects on groundwater quality, and evaluate risk-based options for site remediation. Remedial standards used in this assessment include disposal criteria from the RRC and Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) (1996b, 1996c), health-based standards (U.S. EPA, 1996a, b; TNRCC, 1996a, 1998), and other guidance, such as secondary maximum contaminant levels (U.S. EPA, 1996b), to address the range of constituents found at the site.

The buried waste materials at the site are spent drilling fluids in excavated pits that are contained by a berm. Most areas of the site are underlain by several feet of clay in the Beaumont Formation, except for one deeper area, which may have received salt-based drill cuttings. Other areas of onsite waste disposal or potential impact include eight pits on the east side of the site, two vacuum-truck washout ponds, and a pond on the north side of the site. There also has been unauthorized trash disposal unrelated to the oil and gas operation.


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