Sand Springs Petrochemical Complex Superfund Site
About this Superfund Site
Location: Sand Springs, Tulsa County, Oklahoma
Township and Range: Section 13-14, Township 19N, Range 11E
Latitude/Longitude: 36.13104600, -96.10323083
Site Type: Refinery/Solvent Recycling
National Priorities List: Final Listing Date – June 10, 1986
Area: 0.37 square miles/235 acres
Current Status: Cleanup complete
Cleanup Oversight Agencies: EPA, DEQ, and Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO)
Lead Agency: EPA
Office: DEQ, Land Protection Division, (405) 702-5100
DEQ Site Project Manager: Kelsey Bufford, (405) 702-5184
DEQ Press Contact: Erin Hatfield, (405) 702-7119
Site History and Background:
Pierce Petroleum Refinery first occupied the site in early 1900s and then was subsequently acquired by the Sinclair Oil Corporation in the early 1930s. It continued to operate until 1948 when most of the refinery operations were shut down. Dismantling of the refinery soon followed and all remaining operations ceased in 1952. Since 1953, a variety of industries leased or purchased property from what is now the Sand Springs site. The site is located on the northern bank of the Arkansas River and sits on the alluvial floodplain. The district surrounding the Sand Springs site is primarily industrial, with some commercial facilities located within close proximity. The nearest residence to the site is about half a mile away and all drinking water wells are upgradient of the contamination.
In the early 1980s, soil and water samples confirmed that contact with contaminated sludge at the site could pose environmental and human health risks. In August 1984, Environmental Protection Agency ordered an emergency removal of contained drums and tanks. The remedial action (RA) involved excavation, stabilization, solidification, and placement of approximately 206,500 cubic yards of petroleum waste in an on-site landfill. Treatment of the waste material was completed and the landfill was closed on August 22, 1995. When all work was finished, a completion ceremony was held at the Sand Springs Petrochemical Complex on August 29, 1995. During routine operation and maintenance (O&M) activities in May 2001, seeps of black sludge were observed near the former acid sludge disposal pit along the northern bank of the Arkansas River. In September 2004, a work plan was prepared for excavating the waste materials. The sludge, as well as a foot of soil beneath the soil/sludge interface was removed. About 16,000 to 20,000 cubic yards of material, including sludge, mixed soil, neutralizing lime, and debris were disposed of at a landfill. The site was then backfilled, graded, and planted with grass. A portion of the north bank of the Arkansas River has also been rip-rapped (rock used to armor shorelines) to prevent erosion by the Arkansas River.
Cleanup of waste is complete at the site and routine operation and maintenance continues. A second five-year review for the Sand Springs Petrochemical Complex found the remedies in place to be protective of human health and the environment. The cleanup at the site removed environmental risks and made several miles of the Arkansas River safer for recreational uses.
Did you Know?
In the late 1920s, Sand Springs was the leading industrial city in Oklahoma.
Land Use Restrictions:
Fencing has been placed around the landfill. Institutional controls have been recommended to ensure protection of human health and the environment and to facilitate any potential land use activities, but they have not been implemented at this time.
- Sources of Contamination: Several solvent and oil recycling facilities (Glenn Wynn area), unlined pits, numerous tanks and drums, and accidental spills from recycling operations.
- Contaminants of Concern: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), acidic sludge, water, and fumes
- Media Affected: Soil, sediment, ground water, and surface water
- Ground Water Impacted: 25-40 feet of Arkansas River alluvial aquifer
- Surface Water Impacted: Arkansas River