A former oilfield tract in Robstown on which a proposed outlet mall may be built has been given the thumbs up by the state of Texas after a cleanup operation removed soil that may have been contaminated with crude oil.

The Railroad Commission of Texas announced Monday that a certificate of completion had been issued for the project, which began in 2002 after the county found oil and other hydrocarbons at the site at depths of 5 to 8 feet. State officials helped the county conduct a site assessment in 2004 and a soil investigation was completed in 2006.

In May, 15 yards of soil was removed from the Robstown site and the certificate of completion was granted to the county in July.

The work was done through the RRC Brownfields Redevelopment Program, which identifies abandoned oil and gas drilling and production sites, and promotes voluntary cleanup by provident Environmental Protection Agency funding for site assessments and cleanup.

County Judge Loyd Neal said he is glad the work has been done and is looking forward to seeing the property developed.

"Working together, we were able to turn a problematic piece of real estate into one of the most exciting retail developments Nueces County has seen in years," Neal said.

The outlet mall is scheduled to break ground before the end of the year, with a grand opening tentatively set for November 2009.