Harris County attorney Vince Ryan announced he's suing a collection of companies for 45 years' worth of pollution in the San Jacinto River, and he's asking for up to $25,000 a day in penalties.
Ryan is suing International Paper Company, Waste Management, Inc., Waste Management of Texas, Inc. and McGinnis Industrial Maintenance Corporation over the disposal pits near the I-10 crossing of the river.
"When I took office, I asked community residents and leaders to name one thing I could do to improve the environment in Harris County," Ryan said. "Cleaning up the San Jacinto River Waste Pits was, without a doubt, the thing almost everyone agreed upon."
According to Ryan's office:
The County's lawsuit contends that in 1965 a Waste Management company disposed of highly toxic waste from International Paper's nearby paper mill into waste pits located on the shores of the San Jacinto River. The toxic contents of these pits leaked into the River for decades. The companies eventually abandoned the waste pits, and over the years portions of them became submerged below the San Jacinto River.
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The San Jacinto River site is now on the Superfund list. The state has advised against eating fish from the river or camping near the pits.