Monday, September 12, 2011

Texarkana Superfund Participant Now Operates in Somerville

By: Duane Craig

Operations where creosote and other petrochemical-based materials are used for word preserving often have a large environmental issue. In Texas, one such site reached federal Superfund status and resulted in people being moved.

The Koppers Co. Inc. Texarkana Superfund Site is a mile west of Texarkana’s downtown area on West 4th Street. Started as a wood treatment facility in 1903 it was purchased by Koppers 20-years later. Koppers ran it until 1961, sold it and the processing facilities were torn down to accommodate the new Carver-Terrace Subdivision. Meanwhile another company set up and ran a gravel pit on the remaining acreage. The gravel pit was ordered closed in 1984 by the then Texas Department of Water Resources.

Eventually, the people who moved into Carver Terrace had to leave so they were bought out and given relocation assistance. The money amounted to $5 million and was appropriated by attaching it as an amendment to the EPA’s budget bill in 1990.

More than 3,000 tons of soil were removed, much of it having polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons greater than 100 parts per million. The upper aquifer had about 45 million gallons of shallow groundwater contaminated. Koppers was bought out by Beazer in 1988, the same year the Record of Decision instructed the Carver Terrace homeowners to be bought out. Some assets and the Koppers name were used to start up Koppers Industries and then Koppers Inc, the current operator of a wood preservative plant in Somerville, Texas, and a company with 39 locations across the globe.

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