20 Aug 2005
Expert Reports for Shushufindi-48, Sacha-51, Sacha-18 and Sacha-65 Judicial Inspections Show No Petroleum-Related Health Risks at Remediated Sites
QUITO, Ecuador, August 20, 2005 - Laboratory results from testing conducted at the Sacha-57 judicial site inspection reveal that there is no risk to human health or the environment from Texaco Petroleum Company (Texpet)-remediated areas. The expert report detailing these findings was filed with the Superior Court of Nueva Loja and is the 12th submitted by Chevron in the case.
Sara McMillen, Chevron's senior scientific advisor for the case, said: "The areas that were remediated as part of the 1995 Texpet remediation program met the closure requirements set out for that program and petroleum-related chemical residues in soil are at safe levels, proving once again that Texpet fulfilled its commitments under the remediation agreement with the government of Ecuador and Petroecuador. One additional area which was not in use during Texpet's operations and was not included in Texpet's remediation program was also examined in the November 11, 2004 judicial inspection. Today, this area contains weathered asphalt-like material on the surface of the ground. Petroecuador, the current operator, is responsible for determining whether remediation is necessary at this location."
Laboratory data from the Sacha-57 site revealed that there is no health threat from hydrocarbons in water wells at or near the site. However, microbial contamination from human and/or animal waste was discovered in every water sample analyzed. As in all previous reports, local water supplies near Sacha-57 contained high levels of microbial contamination, which may present a serious health threat to people consuming the water. Scientific evidence indicates that the presence of microbial contamination is consistent with many of the health concerns reported in the area.
Superior Court President Efraín Novillo is scheduled to conduct a total of 122 inspections in connection with an environmental lawsuit filed against the company. Samples were tested in the United States at Severn Trent Laboratories in Houston, Texas, and at NewFields, in Rock Island, Massachusetts. Reports containing testing data and expert conclusions were filed with the Court.
SACHA-57 TEST RESULTS
The Sacha-57 area inspection revealed that there are no hazards to public health or the environment from Texpet remediated areas. A small area not included in the 1995 Remediation program contains weathered asphalt-like material that is the responsibility of Petroecuador, the current operator.
The Sacha-57 site inspection included soil testing at three areas, two that were part of the 1995 Remediation Action Plan (RAP) and a third area that was not included in the RAP but which appears to have been used for petroleum operations after the conclusion of the TEXPET remediation program. Surface water and groundwater used for human consumption was also evaluated. A total of four water samples and 32 soil samples were taken, analyzed and reported from the site. One sample of asphalt-like material was also included.
Inspection Date: November 11, 2004
Test Result Highlights:
No Risk to Public Health or Environment from Texpet Remediated Areas
- In soils, the concentrations of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (collectively, BTEX) and metals are below applicable US and Latin American evaluation criteria and do not pose risks to public health or the environment.
- Groundwater samples obtained from water wells of two local residents do not pose any risk to public health or the environment from petroleum industry operations. Similarly, two surface water samples reveal the same absence of risk. All petroleum-related chemicals in the 4 water samples were either not detected, or were found at levels below those considered safe for drinking water by the World Health Organization and the US Environmental Protection Agency.
- All four water samples did test positive for elevated levels of bacteria that are indicative of human and animal waste, but are not related to petroleum operations.
Analysis of Results
- No Risk of Petroleum Migration to Groundwater or Surface Water
- There is no crude oil migration from the remediated areas to groundwater. The absence of petroleum hydrocarbons in groundwater samples indicates there is no crude oil residue in the ground that is mobile or that could impact drinking water sources.
- Only degraded crude oil was found in the subsurface of the remediated pits. This weathered material does not have the potential to migrate.
- The solubility of degraded crude oil in water is extremely low, thus preventing migration to nearby water sources.
- Traces of Asphalt-like Material Found Outside of Remediated Areas
- An area northeast of the site contained weathered asphalt-like material of unknown origin. However, the evidence indicates that this area had not been impacted at the time of remedial activities because it was not part of Texpet's remediation program.
- Test results for the asphalt-like material indicate the presence of one PAH (benzo(a)pyrene) at a concentration, slightly above the health-based evaluation criterion. The current operator, Petroecuador, is responsible for environmental conditions at this location and should evaluate whether remediation is necessary.
- Texpet Fulfilled its Remediation Commitments under the RAP: According to inspection results, Texpet fully complied with the criteria and specifications agreed to by the Government of Ecuador and Petroecuador as part of the RAP. All samples from the remediated areas were below RAP criteria and applicable US and Latin American criteria for metals, BTEX and PAHs.
Back to top