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Local News

January 28, 2013

PA City Council to discuss Pleasure Island, hazardous waste site

PORT ARTHUR — The Port Arthur City Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday night to discuss Pleasure Island and paying a debt related to a hazardous waste site.

The council will meet with the Pleasure Island Commission in a closed session at 5 p.m. and adjourn before 6 p.m. for a special council meeting.

The Pleasure Island Commission and the council will discuss the value of the land on Pleasure Island in closed session, according to the agenda. But the two entities could possibly take action on the loan the city issued the island for repairs to its marina after the closed meeting.

At the 6 p.m. meeting, the council will discuss a possible budget amendment and adjoining motion to pay the Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Texas $286,000. That amount would cover the city’s cost for cleanup of the State Marine Superfund Site, according to the proposed resolution.

The State Marine Superfund Site is a former barge-cleaning operation and municipal landfill that occupied 17 acres on Pleasure Island for more than 10 years, according to an EPA site summary report. After the city acquired the island from the state in 1955, it developed areas of the island to use as a municipal landfill. In 1963, the city started incinerating waste there in a burn pit, but by December 1969 the burning stopped and the landfill was used for waste disposal only.

The city closed the landfill in December 1974, following Texas Department of Health regulations that required covering the landfill with two feet of “fine-grained fill material,” according to the site summary report. That cover material was thought to be dredge spoils from the island.

State Welding and Marine Works and the Golden Triangle Shipyard opened for business on the island in 1973, according to the report. The barge-cleaning operators stored oil and wastewater from their cleaning tasks in unlined reservoirs approximately two acres in size. Wastewater was transferred from two aboveground storage tanks to the reservoirs, and some oil from the tanks was directed to an old ship docked on the land and used as an oil/water separator.

The EPA oversaw removal of waste materials that posed a risk to humans and the environment in August 2001, according to the report. During the removal, 26,000 gallons of waste oil, water, diesel fuel and kerosene; 3,800 gallons of heavy sludge; 27 drums; 28 compressed gas cylinders; and 14 batteries were disposed off-site. The 22 aboveground storage tanks were decontaminated with a degreaser solution and pressure washer, and the rinse water was disposed off-site.

In April 2007, the EPA issued a decision that stated no further action was necessary for the site and that it posed no threat to human health or the environment, according to the report. The site could be developed for industrial or commercial purposes.

Other items on the agenda include:

• A public hearing to receive comments on the proposed annexation of property located at 13151 West Port Arthur Road

• A resolution authorizing payment of no more than $18,000 to Soutex Surveyors Inc. to create a geographic information system map of the city

email: bcrum@panews.com

twitter: @broocrum

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