Assessment Activities

Initial actions and environmental assessment activities

Once CE Ranch took control of the site in 2018, we began a series of actions to improve overall site conditions.  Hay and mulch were delivered to the site and applied to the surface of Bed 1 for dust control.  The levees of all four beds and the decant pond were upgraded and erosion rills were filled and vegetated.  We monitored and implemented procedures to reduce dust and foam and instituted a perimeter air monitoring program.  Fence lines were either repaired or completely replaced.  Our website and telephone hotline were established.

In addition , as required by TCEQ, we held a public meeting in July 2018, began property-purchase discussions with nearby owners, and implemented several environmental assessments that were performed via work plans submitted to TCEQ for approval.  The investigative work continued through 2020 and included performance of:

  • A Preliminary Groundwater Assessment,
  • A Drinking Water Survey, and
  • An Affected Property Assessment.

Following the field, lab and data review work, reports were prepared and submitted.

The Preliminary Groundwater Assessment Report (PGAR) and the Drinking Water Survey Report (DWSR) were approved by TCEQ in June 2019 and led to the performance of the Affected Property Assessment (APAR).

CE Ranch began the APAR process in 2019 and implemented a scope of work over an approximate 18-month process that included:

  • Confirmation of the conceptual model for the Site;
  • Soil sampling from areas surrounding the beds;
  • Quarterly sampling of groundwater monitoring wells;
  • Sampling of surface water and sediment from nearby surface water bodies; and
  • An ecological risk assessment review.

The APAR focused on the evaluation of concentrations of metals, radium, uranium and fluoride in the soil, groundwater, surface water and sediment.

Soil Assessment

Surface soil samples from 44 locations, including areas more than 1.5 miles from the beds, were collected from 0-12 inches below ground level and analyzed for the target suite of analyses.  Prevalent wind patterns were considered to select the sample locations.

The results of the soil sampling showed no evidence of a release or contamination in soil from any of the Copano beds.
In addition, concentrations of metals, radium and uranium in the soil samples from areas surrounding the beds were similar to background conditions and were also at levels below specific risk-based criteria established by the TCEQ.

Groundwater Assessment

Groundwater samples from 34 monitoring wells were collected over four consecutive quarters. The groundwater samples were collected from the uppermost water-bearing zone (Zone A) and a deeper zone(Zone B).Monitoring wells are situated adjacent to the levees of the beds at locations that represent upgradient, side gradient and downgradient positions relative to the direction of groundwater flowin the uppermost water-bearing zone.

The results of the sampling showed no evidence of a release or contamination in groundwater from any of the Copano beds. Concentrations were determined to be well below Class 3 criteria.

Surface Water and Sediment Assessment

Surface water samples were collected from the downwind surface water bodies (Freshwater Lake and Swan Lake), and sediment samples were collected near the shoreline.

The results of the sampling showed no evidence of a release or contamination from any of the Copano beds.

Ecological Risk Assessment Review

The results of the ecological assessment review of surface soil, surface water and sediment datashowed very low concentrations of constituents such that no further ecological assessment was warranted.