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EPA Adds One Houston-Area Site to Federal Cleanup Priorities List, Proposes Two More

Release Date: 4/30/2003
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added the Gulfco Marine Maintenance site in Freeport, Texas, to the federal Superfund National Priorities List (NPL), EPA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) announced today. EPA also proposed to add the Conroe Creosoting Company site in Conroe, Texas, and the Jones Road Groundwater Plume northwest of Houston to the NPL.

      "Listing a site is an important first step in ensuring that public health and the environment will be protected. The EPA and the TCEQ are committed to work together to clean up these sites quickly and efficiently," EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said.

      TCEQ Chairman Robert J. Huston said, "The TCEQ stands ready to assist the EPA in addressing problem sites such as these.  Continued cooperation between our agencies is essential to clean up all contaminated properties throughout our state and to maximize our respective resources."

      The 40-acre Gulfco Marine facility was used as a barge cleaning and servicing facility from 1971 through 1979. The site is being added to the NPL based on evidence that hazardous substances, including semivolatile organic compounds, lead, zinc, and pesticides, have migrated from the facility to the Intracoastal Waterway.  These substances may pose a threat to nearby drinking water supplies and downstream sensitive environments, and have impacted fisheries downstream of the facility.

      Conroe Creosoting Company was a wood treating facility that operated from 1946 until March 14, 1997.  The facility treated lumber, railroad cross-ties, poles, and fence posts.  Three wood preserving processes, pentachlorophenol (PCP) process, creosote process, and copper chromated arsenate (CCA) process, were used at the facility.  The Conroe site is being proposed to the NPL because elevated levels of pentachlorophenol (PCP), dioxins, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and metals have been found in on-site soils, surface water, waste drums, and surface impoundments, threatening nearby residents, wetlands, and rivers.  These substances are hazardous to human health and the environment.  For example, EPA believes some PAHs are human carcinogens.  

      The Jones Road Ground Water Plume site is located approximately one-half mile north of the intersection of Jones Road and FM 1960 in a mixed residential, urban/light industry area outside the city limits of northwest Houston, Harris County, Texas.   The site is being proposed to the NPL based upon the presence of hazardous substances, including cis-1,2-dichloroethene (DCE), tetrachloroethene (PCE), and tricholorethene (TCE), in drinking water wells.  For example, PCE has been detected in drinking water wells above EPA's maximum contaminant level. EPA believes PCE is a human carcinogen.

      The EPA Superfund program works closely with state agencies to clean and restore uncontrolled contaminated properties. Superfund cleans sites when the work required is beyond the resources of state and local agencies.

      EPA will seek public comments for 60 days on adding the Conroe and Jones Road sites to the NPL. Those comments will be addressed before the Agency makes the final decision about adding the sites to the NPL. During this public comment period, the Agency will continue to develop cleanup plans so that actual work may begin as quickly as possible after NPL listing.

      The public comment period will end June 30, 2003. More information on making comments is available on the EPA web site at

      More information about the Gulfco site is available on the EPA web site at  More information about the Conroe and Jones Road sites will be available at  More information about toxic substances is available at the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry web site at