Texas Vermiculite Company (W.R. Grace), 354 Blue Star Street, San Antonio, Texas
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EPA
Region
Location of facility Type of facility Amount
of ore
received
(in tons)
Did
EPA
visit
the
site?
Were
samples
taken?
Results of
evaluation
6 354 Blue Star Street, San Antonio, Texas Former exfoliation facility 124,545 Yes-February 24, 2000 Yes According to an EPA database compiled from W.R. Grace shipping invoices, 124,545 tons of vermiculite ore from the Libby mine were shipped to this site between January 1967 and December 1988. At the time of EPA's visit, this site was owned and operated by a livestock feed manufacturer, Big Tex Company, Inc. and was located in a residential area near the San Antonio River. According to a company representative, Big Tex purchased the property from Star Seed and Grain in 1986. Star Seed and Grain had leased the site to W.R. Grace. The company representative would not allow EPA access to the site without counsel, which was not available the day of the site visit. The company representative did tell EPA that the silos and some material from W.R. Grace operations could still remain on the site. A consultant who represented W.R. Grace reported to EPA that the site had been sampled and no asbestos had been found. Since that initial visit, EPA and the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality began an investigation of the site and a developer purchased the property and was planning to build condominiums on the site. EPA gained access to the site in March 2006 and found that the site consisted of approximately 31 structures, including the Big Tex grain elevators and warehouses on the eastern portion of the property and numerous grain silos that had been converted to office spaces on the north-northwest portion of the property. EPA collected approximately 15 soil samples and three activity-based samples at the site (activity-based sampling involves recreating activities, such as raking, that stir up the soil and then collecting air samples to determine if such activities result in elevated levels of asbestos fibers in the air). Asbestos was found in the soil at levels as high as 4 percent. Both polarized light microscopy (PLM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) were used to analyze the samples. Assessment of this site was completed on April 25, 2008. A decision was made to conduct a clean-up. The clean up was completed on December 23, 2008.

GAO-09-6R