A Monumental Cleanup of 75 Yr Old Acid Tar Lake


A chemical manufacturer inherited a major problem in the form of a 15-acre asphalt and acid tar lake that was up to 60 feet deep. The material was placed onsite by a refinery that operated from 1908 to 1946. The owner had multiple concerns:

  • The local community had long hated the stench of the material.
  • When disturbed, the tar released an extremely foul odor, the source of which was unknown.
  • The owner was under pressure from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality to clean up the site.
  • Several prior companies tried to resolve the problem but failed, each of whom rapidly experienced severe equipment damage.

The owner needed a cost-effective, permanent solution to process and safely remove the tar.


Altiras performed several months of laboratory and field testing and assessment of the material, offered a proposal, and was then engaged to solve the problem. Our solution involved:

  • Extensive testing to determine the source & cause of the odor.
  • Identification of the exposure risks and dangers from the material.
  • Extensive testing to identify the cause of the rapid, severe equipment damage.
  • Developed detailed process to protect employees and minimize exposure and risks.
  • Developed process to stop damage to equipment.
  • Developed process to handle and neutralize over 30 million gallons of rainwater with pH <2 and sticky solids throughout.


Altiras developed processes to completely remove all odor, make the material safe
for equipment, and we even developed the product into a tremendously stable
road base with exceptional physical properties to withstand much greater traffic
than standard DOT requirements. Upon completion of the removal process, the
underlying ground was restored to its native state, with vegetation regrowing
throughout the site.

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Key Benefits

Comprehensive Solutions

Altiras provides everything necessary to complete the job including R&D, field studies, engineering, equipment, logistics, procedures, personnel, and management.

Problem Solving

Altiras has some of the best problem solvers for remediation and beneficial reuse. We never stop trying to do things better.

Low/No Risk

Altiras solutions generally offer no risk to the owner since Altiras often bears the risk and costs of failure.


Altiras makes maximum reuse of materials and restores the natural environment.

If you have any questions, please contact us today!