Scope and Contents
The collection contains non-privileged files pertaining to litigation regarding petroleum hydrocarbon contamination of properties on and around 23rd Street and Business 83 in McAllen, Texas. Documents include trial transcripts and proceedings, technical research and reports, and witness testimony relating to the southern and northern plume cases.
- Creation: -
- Reed, McLain & Guerrero (Organization)
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Biographical / Historical
The "McAllen Plume" refers to petroleum hydrocarbon contamination of properties on and around 23rd Street and Business 83 in McAllen, Texas. In 1992 land was purchased on 23rd Street to build an adult daycare business. In the process of evaluating and inspecting the land it was discovered that it was contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbon (unleaded gasoline). The original lawsuit was originally brought against the bank that provided the loan to purchase the property, and a Coastal convenience store and gas station across the street. The bank claimed no knowledge of the contamination. Coastal claimed that the contamination was coming from the railroad north of their location, and that the Texas Railroad Commission should be held responsible. Samples were taken north of the original sampling location indicating that area contained higher levels of contamination than the southern area. The two locations were called the northern plume and the southern plume with a vein of caliche running between the two locations. The northern plume was found to be larger, and included over 150 families in the lawsuit, the southern plume was smaller with 40 families participating in the lawsuit. When the bank learned of the northern plume, they joined with the attorney to bring suit for the northern plume which they believe led to the contamination of the southern plume. The sampling from the northern plume indicated that the contamination was condensate with traces of natural gas and benzene. Benzene is particularly important because it gives off vapors that can travel through the soil to the surface. It was determined that this plume was too large to be caused by a leak. There were six wells that were tied into a gathering system. These wells lead to a “separation facility.” However, from the wells to the separation facility there was no monitoring that would indicate the amount that was traveling through the wells, how much should have reached the separation facility or how much was leaking. Two state agencies are responsible for this type of situation. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) assumes responsibility over environmental issues. Because there was also gas condensate found in the sampling the Texas Railroad Commission became involved. The southern plume lawsuit was tried in court. The plaintiffs, the families residing in the area, won a verdict against Coastal. Coastal then appealed the verdict. The final monetary value is confidential. The northern plume lawsuit was settled out of court.
400.00 Linear Feet
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- Janette Garcia
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Part of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Special Collections and Archives, Edinburg Campus Repository
1201 West University Drive
Edinburg TX 78539-2999