Toxic Time Bomb?

Will the Next Hurricane Unleash the Dioxin-filled San Jacinto Superfund Site?

Highlights from Hair Balls

Environment

Houston wasn't hit by a hurricane this season, but there are questions about what will happen to the San Jacinto Waste Pit superfund site the next time a hurricane roars through town.

The highly toxic Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site has been sitting in the middle of the San Jacinto River for years, full of dioxin and other toxic waste dumped by Waste Management and International Paper and a slew of other companies over decades, the result of paper manufacturing and paper mill waste disposal practices dating back to the 1960s. In 2011, the site was capped, but a recent report from the Army Corps of Engineers has found that the cap has already begun to erode, according to a release from Texans Together.

The nonprofit organization coordinated with Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan's office to stage a press conference December 17 urging people to push the EPA to require the companies that dumped the toxic waste in the site to remove it. The cap is already eroding, according to the Army Corps's report, the release stated. The group raised concerns that the cap, though designed to withstand a 100-year-flood event, would be vulnerable when another hurricane hits the area, potentially spilling toxic waste into the river and from there into Galveston Bay.

"If the EPA allows the companies to leave their toxic wastes in the river, taxpayers will pay a huge bill when hurricanes inevitably hit our area," Jackie Young, an environmental geologist with Texans Together, stated in the release. "We need the companies to face this problem head on and remove their toxic wastes before our luck runs out."

Ryan has been in a suit since 2010 against the companies that allegedly dumped the waste into the San Jacinto River in the 1960s. Earlier this year, the companies in the suit tried to transfer the case to federal court but were shot down by the judge. The case is back in state court, where Ryan's office will pursue a $1 billion penalty case against Waste Management, International Paper and McGinnis Industrial Services.

 
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1 comments
brileyjames
brileyjames

so dioxin was what caused agent orange syndrome the government is lying to us vets that are displaying the symptoms I lived within a couple miles of  several plants while my dad was in the army  in Maryland I got out in 93 they wanted me to take Accutane for the second time trust me I beat the side effects the first time not going to take it the second time 

 
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