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EPA's Region 6 Office

Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations

Palestine Arsenic - Palestine, Texas


Current Status

EPA, in cooperation with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS), completed initial extensive sampling of the site area in September 2004. Testing was conducted to determine the levels of arsenic and other metal levels in the soil. Over 300 samples were taken in mostly residential and nearby industrial areas in southeast /south central Palestine including Reagan Park. EPA has now received validated data from the recent sampling. Property owners were notified of their results by letter or personal contact by agency representatives in late February. Local elected officials were also briefed on testing results. Most properties tested had levels above the screening level of 24 parts per million (ppm) for arsenic, but a number of other properties tested did not. Vanadium and lead have also been identified at above screening levels. Results letters provided that respective data to property owners. Agencies are also planning for next steps. This will include further area sampling to determine site boundaries and data, whether the site is proposed to the National Priorities List (NPL), remediation on a prioritized basis (i.e. young children, limited ground cover, etc.). Completion of a tentative bioavailability study in late 2005 to establish a final screening level for cleanup is planned. EPA and its partner agencies will also provide future community meetings as needed, and other frequent information updates for residents. If residents have health concerns about children or themselves they should contact their personal physician or TDSHS at 1-800-588-1248.

Site Background

In early September 2004, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Site Assessment Team mobilized to conduct a removal assessment in the southeastern portion of Palestine, Texas, due to historical activities that were conducted in the area. Based on previous investigations and soil samples collected by TCEQ in May 2003 and January 2004, there is reason to believe that hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants may have been released into soils in the vicinity. The major contaminant of concern is arsenic. In May 2003, the EPA, working with TCEQ, performed a Screening Site Inspection (SSI) at the Palestine Light Heat and Power Company, which was a former coal gasification site at 614 West Reagan Street, Palestine, Anderson County, Texas. The additional contamination was discovered off-site at the former George M. Dilley and Son Founders and Machinists Shop (also known as the Palestine Foundry). The Palestine Foundry is located across the railroad tracks at 600 May Street. The Palestine Foundry operated from 1873 to 1940 and was the first large industry in Palestine, Texas. Several buildings and possibly a smoke stack, were located on the property when the site was active; only two buildings remain on the property. Although the source of contamination has not been determined, the Palestine Foundry is a suspected source.

Site Location and Description

For the purpose of this investigation the area of interest will be defined by the known extent of contamination determined during the SSI. The area of interest includes the residential and commercial areas to the south of the east and west-bound Missouri Pacific Railroad tracks, to the east of the north and south-bound Missouri Pacific Railroad tracks, to the north of Jolly Street and Cook Street, and the west of Crockett Street. This area appears to be mostly residential and includes Reagan Park and Memorial Hospital. Lamar School is now a doctor’s office and Crockett High School was demolished. There are no navigable waterways, or water bodies within the proposed area. Town Creek, which ultimately flows to the Trinity River, is located approximately 0.75 miles northeast of the area and has also been sampled.

For additional information contact:

  • Charles Fisher
  • On Scene Coordinator
  • U.S. EPA Region 6
  • 1445 Ross Avenue (6SF-PR)
  • Dallas, TX 75202
  • 214.665.2224 or 1.800.533.3508
  • fisher.charles@epa.gov
  • Jon Rinehart
  • Site Assessment Manager
  • U.S. EPA Region 6
  • 1445 Ross Avenue (6SF-TS)
  • Dallas, TX 75202
  • 214.665.6789 or 1.800.533.3508
  • rinehart.jon@epa.gov
  • David Bary
  • EPA Region 6 Press Office
  • U.S. EPA Region 6
  • 1445 Ross Avenue (6XA)
  • Dallas, TX 75202
  • 214.665.2208 or 1.800.533.3508
  • bary.david@epa.gov
  • Bruce McAnally
  • Community Relations Coordinator
  • TCEQ
  • P.O. Box 13087 (MC 225)
  • Austin, TX 7871103087
  • 1.800.633.9363
  • bmcanall@tceq.state.tx.us
  • Donn Walters
  • Community Involvement
  • U.S. EPA Region 6
  • 1445 Ross Avenue (6SF-TS)
  • Dallas, TX 75202
  • 214.665.6483 or 1.800.533.3508
  • walters.donn@epa.gov
  • Kelly Cook
  • PA/SI Program Manager
  • TCEQ
  • P.O. Box 13087 (MC 142)
  • Austin, TX 7871103087
  • 512.239.2525
  • kcook@tceq.state.tx.us

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, available as a free download, to view these files. See EPA's PDF page to learn more about PDF, and for a link to the free Acrobat Reader.

Expanded Site Inspection Report - Palestine Light, Heat and Power Company Site - Palestine, Anderson County, Texas (PDF, 83 pp, 1.3MB)

Screening Site Inspection Report - Palestine Light, Heat and Power Company Site - Palestine, Anderson County, Texas (PDF, 68 pp, 2.3MB)

Soil Sample Location Map (PDF, 1 pp, 333K)

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