[PLEASE NOTE: The information presented below is offered for educational purposes only. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.]
Texas Superfund Site: Pantex Plant (USDOE)
1EPA Publication Date: September 7, 2005
Epa Id# Tx4890110527
Site ID: 0604060
Epa Region 6
Congressional District 13
Updated: September 2005
Pantex Plant (hereinafter “the Site”) is located 17 miles Northeast of Amarillo,
Carson County, Texas.
Approximately 160,000 people reside in Amarillo.
The area surrounding Pantex is primarily agricultural.
The facility occupies approximately 16,000 acres with approximately 10,000 of
these acres owned by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and 6,000 acres
leased from Texas Tech University (TTU). The acreage leased from TTU serves
as a buffer zone for site safety and security.
Currently, the main mission of the facility is the assembly, disassembly, and
maintenance of nuclear weapons; interim plutonium pit storage; and the
production of high explosives (HE) components.
36% of Amarillo's water supply is received from a well field 4 miles from the
20 domestic water wells are located within one mile of the site.
The Ogallala Aquifer at Pantex occurs at a depth that ranges from 390 to 480 feet
below ground surface.
This aquifer serves as the primary source of domestic and municipal water
A perched aquifer, averaging about 10 to 30 feet thick, occurs at approximately
270 feet below ground surface.
Wastes and Volumes
The principal soil contaminants at Pantex are HE and heavy metals.
Explosives, trichloroethylene (TCE) , 1,2-dichloroethane and chromium are present in the
TCE, toluene, and several heavy metals have been detected in the Ogallala Aquifer. In
August, 2001, benzene was detected in off-site monitor wells for the first time. DOE has
since demonstrated that the benzene and toluene were introduced through materials used
in the low flow/multi-port monitoring wells; the multi-port systems have since been
removed and those wells re-developed.
DOE/NNSA has used Interim Corrective Measures (ICMs) to address higher risk soil and
2EPA Publication Date: September 7, 2005
ground water contamination across the site. Since 1996, near-surface soils above health
screening levels have been removed at over 100 sites. Two ground water ICMs are
addressing contaminants at the Burning Grounds and southeast of Zone 12. A Soil Vapor
Extraction system (SVE) was installed in February 2002 to address volatile organic
compounds present in the unsaturated zone beneath the Burning Grounds area. A
Perched aquifer pump and treat system was installed in 1995 to extract contaminated
ground water and remove chromium (VI), volatile organics, explosives in the southeast
corner of the Plant. Both systems are ongoing.
According to DOE, approximately 900 acres will have residual soil contamination at
closure. The volume of impacted perched ground water requiring corrective action is
estimated at 1.5 billion gallons.
Site Assessment and Ranking
Npl Listing History
Site HRS Score: 51.22
Proposed Date: 7/29/91
Final Date: 5/31/94
NPL Update: No. 12
Site Map and Diagram
3EPA Publication Date: September 7, 2005
The Remediation Process
Plant began in 1942 as an Army Ordnance Corps facility. The plant is now owned by the
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)/National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
and operated under contract by BWXT Pantex, L.L.C.
DOE began nuclear operations in 1950. Pantex continues as an active facility, with
current operations that include fabrication of nuclear weapon ammunition and assembly,
testing, and disassembly of nuclear weapons.
Past waste practices included burning of chemical wastes in unlined pits, burial of wastes
in unlined landfills, and discharging of plant waste water into unlined ditches and surface
The ground water pumped from the Ogallala Aquifer provides drinking and irrigation
water to the City of Amarillo and the surrounding area.
Explosives; TCE; 1,2-dichloroethane; chromium; and perchlorate are present in the
perched aquifer which is approximately 100 feet, on average, above the Ogallala Aquifer.
Pumping of the city water wells has created a cone of depression, causing ground water
in the Ogallala underlying Pantex to flow toward the city well field.
Other Environmental Risks:
Surface water run-off from the facility is directed into on-site playas. All on-site playas
are considered wetlands.
Texas Tech University Agricultural Research Station uses surface water from Playa 4 for
both irrigation of crops and watering livestock.
Record of Decision
No ROD Has Been Signed For The Pantex Plant
Site As Of September 7, 2005.
Community involvement responsibilities for the Pantex Plant are the responsibility of the
Residents are primarily concerned with the contamination of the Ogallala Aquifer, a
drinking and irrigation water resource for the City of Amarillo.
Site Repository: United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA Region 6)
Library, 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 1200, Dallas, TX 75202-2733.
Carson County Library
Panhandle, Texas 79068
Amarillo College Lynn Library
2201 S. Washington
Amarillo, Texas 79109-2411
4EPA Publication Date: September 7, 2005
Environmental Restoration meeting - September 18, 2005
Technical Assistance Grant
Availability Notice: N/A
Letters of Intent (LOI)
1) 6/1/99 - Serious Texans Against Nuclear Dumping (STAND)
2) 6/25/99 - Amarillo Chamber of Commerce
3) 6/25/99 - Amarillo Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
4) 6/25/99 - Baptist St. Anthony’s Health System
LOI Newspaper Notice:6/16/99
Grant Award:Awarded on 1/20/00 to STAND.
7105 W. 34 Avenue, Suite E
Amarillo, TX 79109
Pamela S. Allison is the TAG Administrator
Final TAG application for second grant received from STAND on February 6, 2003.
2 TAG awarded May 2003 for $100,000. Budget/project period: 5/12/03 - 4/12/06.
An additional $51,417 was added to the award in February 2005, extending the
budget/project period to 4/11/07.
STAND selected 3 Technical Advisors (TAs).
A compliance review was conducted in mid-summer 2005.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Remedial Project Manager: Ms. Camille Hueni - (214) 665-2231*.
(Contact for Technical Questions)
E-Mail Address - firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Involvement Coordinator: Duke Ducote (214) 665-6658*
(Contact for Community Relations Questions)
E-Mail Address - email@example.com
Attorney: Mr. George Malone - (214) 665-8030*.
(Contact for Legal Questions)
E-Mail Address - firstname.lastname@example.org
State Coordinator (EPA): Ms. Karen Bond - (214) 665-6682*.
(Contact for State\EPA Agreements)
E-Mail Address - email@example.com
Regional Public Liaison: Mr. Arnold Ondarza - (303) 312-6777
(Contact for Dispute Resolution)
E-Mail Address - firstname.lastname@example.org
*Toll-Free Number: 1-800-533-3508
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality(TCEQ)
Project Manager: Mr. Robert Musick - (512) 239-2243
U.S. Department of Energy
Facility Contact: Mr. Johnnie Guelker - (806) 477-3183
5EPA Publication Date: September 7, 2005
A Federal Facility Agreement has not been finalized for this Site.
Present Status and Issues
Site remediation is ongoing under two joint authorities. The TCEQ is currently overseeing
investigative work required by a RCRA Compliance Plan issued to Pantex in 2003. The
Compliance Plan defines requirements for corrective action, ground water monitoring, and
interim corrective measures, and includes scheduling provisions. The EPA is also
overseeing investigative work under Superfund’s CERCLA authority. A 1994
Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between TCEQ and EPA establishes TCEQ as lead
for oversight of remediation at chemical sites; EPA retains lead for oversight of
radionuclide-related remediation. The MOA provides a coordination tool to integrate
similar regulatory actions under both RCRA and CERCLA.
On August 4, 1998, the EPA received a petition from DOE requesting deletion of the Site
from the National Priorities List (NPL) based on deferral to the TNRCC’s RCRA program
and “no further action” for Firing Site 5 and other sites contained in fifteen Operable Units.
Findings of both soil and ground water investigations for radionuclide contaminants, as
well as an assessment of the potential for release of radionuclide contaminants across the
facility, were consolidated in the January 2004 Pantex Plant Radiological Investigation
Report. EPA is evaluating the findings of that report, as well as additional information
recently submitted by DOE/NNSA.
The Radiological Investigation Report is one segment of the ongoing investigation phase
for soils and ground water. The radionuclide-related sites will go forward for further
evaluation, with the chemical-related sites, in the fate and transport ground water modeling
and in the sitewide risk assessment. Consideration of the petition request will be
contingent on EPA concurrence that no further action is necessary at those sites with
Reviews of the Soil RCRA Facility Investigation Reports (RFIRs) for 252 sites
(Fire Training Area; the Burning Ground Area; Zone 10; Zone 11; Zone 12; Miscellaneous
Independent Sites; and the Playas and Ditches) have been completed. The soil
investigation phase will close pending action on several sites and approval of the
radionuclide investigation document.
The 2004 Ground Water RFIR has been reviewed; DOE/NNSA, TCEQ, and EPA are in
discussions to resolve technical questions remaining on the Perched and Ogallala
characterization. After the ground water RFIR is approved, the project will proceed to the
sitewide risk assessment and fate and transport ground water modeling to support
monitoring decisions and remedy selection.
Closure of remedial sites is targeted for 2008.
Cleanup of the contamination from Pantex Plant will ensure the quality and safety of water
used for agricultural purposes and drinking water for area residents depending on water
wells located near the Site.
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