The Crustal Imaging and Characterization Team (CICT) of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) entered into an agreement with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to conduct geophysical surveys at the BLM Exell Helium Plant near Masterson, TX in preparation for the transfer of ownership for disposal of the site. The Exell Helium Plant was constructed in the 1940?s to produce high-grade helium for the country and was closed in the late 1990?s. The overall project concentrated on research-oriented goals to derive better estimates of potential contamination volumes and lateral extents to aid in remediation through the use of a broadband EM induction system, dc resistivity, induced polarization, and the subsequent integration with advancing GPS technologies. The site-specific tasks included (1) delineation and volume estimation of potential contamination in two evaporation ponds, two oxidation ponds, a production blowdown pit and flare, and a former oil/water separator pit, (2) characterization of several historical spill areas, (3) characterization and volume calculation of a historical landfill, (4) location and characterization of pipelines for potential leaks and contamination as well as of a chromium sludge pit, and (5) a site-wide reconnaissance survey for the location of undocumented burial pits. Results indicate that no further waste is located within the 300-acre property and that hydrocarbons discharged to the evaporation ponds, oxidation ponds, and the blowdown pit have largely biodegraded and have not traveled far through the geologic section.


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