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  • Posted March 25, 2010 by
    santa elena, Texas
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Toxic America

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    Digging up one of Chevron Texaco's old pits in Texas


    I live on a 38,000 acre south texas ranch. Texaco (now Chevron) has operated a 7,110 acre lease here called the McGill Brothers since 1935. They have been the only operator on their acreage and continue to operate the lease today.

    Many people have heard of the Chevron lawsuit in Ecuador - but few realize that Chevron has the exact same pits across the USA. Texaco and Chevron dumped produced water and oil sludge pits across the region until 1985. They did not remediate these pits, just buried them. They continue to leach into the groundwater. People in my area suffer a lot of leukemia and other cancers. It's a very poor rural area. The groundwater is full of BTEX and other components of oilfield brine. The Texas Railroad Commission turns a blind eye to the burial of the pits and the tax payer picks up the tab for the indigent medical care. Only the older major oil companies that operated here pre 1980 are involved. This is not a modern drilling issue. I am pro-oil and gas industry! I am just against bad operators.

    Here are the lab tests from the soil that I dug up in the video. Note - these are quick screening tests from the top layer of black dirt. (just what you see in the video) The pit was dumped in continuously from 1945 until around 1985. In a few months, the environmental firm will come with a rig and bore down. The deeper soil borings and groundwater will be sampled. Then, I will add these results. The EPA standard is .1 per cent of hydrocarbon. These results are in parts per million - unless otherwise noted on the report. Also, in this file, there are several internal Chevron and Texaco documents discussing the contamination issues with the pits. Enjoy!



    For more about my adventure digging up old oilfield mess on our ranch- visit


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