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Congressman Gene Green

Representing the 29th District of Texas

Rep. Gene Green Applauds EPA Cleanup Plan for San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site

October 11, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its final decision to remove over 200,000 cubic yards of highly contaminated material from the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site in Harris County, Texas.

“I thank the EPA for making the right decision to remove the toxic waste pits out of the San Jacinto River,” said Green. “Our communities in eastern Harris County have been fighting for over a decade to have the dioxin and other cancer-causing toxic waste fully removed and disposed of safely. We will be monitoring the remediation process closely and call on the EPA to move as quickly as feasibly possible before additional dioxin is exposed into the environment.”

According to the EPA press release, “EPA’s cleanup plan includes installing engineering controls such as cofferdams before excavating almost 212,000 cubic yards of dioxin contaminated material for disposal. A small amount of material will stay on the site where controls will prevent access, eliminate off-site migration and monitor the natural recovery into the future.”

Congressman Green urged the EPA to designate the San Jacinto River Waste Pits as a Superfund site in 2007. The site’s temporary protective cap has sustained damage on several occasions since its completion in 2011, most recently last month, when the cap was damaged during Hurricane Harvey, releasing highly toxic material into the San Jacinto River. Following a report of dioxin exposure at the San Jacinto River Waste Pits last month, Congressman Green sent a letter to the EPA requesting answers. 

Currently, the San Jacinto Waste Pits are partially submerged, and contained under a temporary cap near the western bank of the San Jacinto River, immediately north of the I-10 Bridge.  The pits were created in the mid-60’s by Champion Paper and McGinnes Industrial Maintenance, who filled the ponds with waste paper sludge from a local paper mill until 1968, when they were abandoned.

A copy of the EPA press release can be found HERE.