Monday, January 24, 2011

Crystal Chemical Site Staying Safe

By: Duane Craig

So far, remediation activities at the Crystal Chemical Company in Houston, Texas, have removed and consolidated 55,000 cubic yards of arsenic-bearing soil and pumped and treated 3.8 million gallons of tainted water to address the list of environmental issues there, according to Environmental Protection Agency.

According to the EPA, the current environmental issues no longer threaten the health of the nearby 20,000 residents or the environment.

Crystal operated the site from 1968 to 1981, making herbicides based on arsenic, phenols and amines. The company then shut down the facilities, declared bankruptcy and abandoned the site. This site is at 10965 Westpark Drive near the Sam Houston Parkway. It covers 25 acres, and there are 650 wells within five miles of it. The wells include not only public water wells but also industrial, private and irrigation wells.

The site got contaminated from Crystal’s habit of spreading wastes from the manufacturing process over the land. From there, contamination was carried by rain water into the soil and the surrounding watershed. Groundwater contamination is being contained in some portions where it is impractical to pump and treat. This process uses a combination of slurry walls, pumps, well vaults and sumps. Groundwater recovery and treatment continues in other portions of the site.

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