Rep. Green calls on public for input and information
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will accept comments from area residents on the proposed cleanup as part of a process the agency must follow to place the waste pits on the National Priority List. The comment period will close on November 18.
“It’s essential for the people who live in the area to make their wishes known,” Green said. “And we especially hope to find out more about the paper mill that caused the pollution in the first place.”
The paper mill waste pits, located just north of the I-10 bridge over the San Jacinto River, are contaminated with polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, commonly called dioxins, and polychlorinated dibenzofurans, commonly called furans. Wildlife in the area, including fish, has become contaminated with the pollutants, which can cause cancer and other health problems in humans. Despite posted warnings, some area residents continue to use contaminated parts of the river as a food source.
The pollution emanates from paper mill waste pits used in the 1960s and1970s by McGinnis Industrial Maintenance Corp. The pits are now abandoned.
Once the waste pits are placed on the National Priority List, the EPA will begin preparations to clean up the mess. However, if the parties responsible for the pollution are found they could bear some of the burden of the cleanup effort. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett also recently urged the public to give the EPA any information they might have about McGinnis Industrial Maintenance Corp., including photos.
To register your opinion about the proposed cleanup effort, or to contribute information on parties responsible for the pollution, send an e-mail to email@example.com, or write to Docket Coordinator, Headquarters, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, CERCLA Docket Office, mail code 5305T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington D.C., 20460. Be sure to refer to the San Jacinto River Waste Pits in all of your correspondence.
For more information on the San Jacinto River Waste Pits, see the entry on the EPA’s web site: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/nar1773.htm.