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Contaminación Collection

 Collection — other: ~400B
Identifier: BSA-009

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: -


Conditions Governing Access

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in our collections may be protected by copyright. Publication, transmission, or reproduction of items protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Whenever possible, accurate information about the copyright status of material is provided in the item record and/or documentation for material in the collection. The Library does not own the copyright in much of the material in its collection and is therefore unable to grant copyright permission to publish those items. It is the researcher's responsibility to determine copyright or other use restrictions and obtain proper permission when publishing or distributing materials found in these collections. Researchers must make their own assessments of rights in light of their intended use. Additional information about copyright and fair use is available via the Library's Copyright Guide at

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

Language of Materials



Please contact the Library’s Archives and Special Collections at (956) 665-2726 or via email at for more information and requests.

Janette Garcia
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Special Collections and Archives, Edinburg Campus Repository

ELIBR 4.100
University Library
1201 West University Drive
Edinburg TX 78539-2999
(956) 665-2726