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Waste Pits need additional repairs

San Jacinto Riverbed scouring image post Hurricane Harvey. Gridded areas of riverbed labeled A, B, C, D will be repaired, as well as exposed toxin area in Northwest corner (dark blue).

Toxic material exposed, cap membrane missing

EPA Directs Additional Repairs for San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site

DALLAS – June 29, 2018 — The EPA is directing the potentially responsible parties of the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site in Texas to take immediate action to address damage to the protective cap. Initial repairs will begin shortly at the damaged areas where the protective rock was missing. Upon completion, EPA will inspect the final repair.

EPA received preliminary data from sediment samples collected by EPA’s dive team from twenty-two small areas measuring up to 50 square feet at the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site. Samples from twenty-two of the areas confirmed the protective cap is absent and the underlying waste material was exposed. The preliminary sample showed dioxins up to 60,500 ng/kg. EPA recommended clean up level for the site is 30 ng/kg.

EPA has directed both International Paper and Industrial Maintenance Corporation, the potentially responsible parties (PRPs) for the San Jacinto Waste Pits Superfund site in Harris County, to take steps to ensure that the exposed waste material is isolated and securely covered. The dioxin in the waste material does not dissolve easily in water, but it can migrate further out into the surrounding sediments.

The PRPs developed an Operations, Monitoring, and Maintenance Plan under Federal Order by the EPA and completed work to prevent wastes from continuing to migrate to adjacent areas including the San Jacinto River in July 2011. The Order allows the Agency to require additional measures and investigations deemed necessary by the Agency from its periodic inspection of the protective cap. EPA is exercising that authority today. EPA divers determined that additional measures were necessary.

The PRP conducted similar repairs in December 2015 and September 2017. EPA selected long-term remedy for the site has 150,000 cubic yards of waste removed and disposed of offsite.

EPA will continue to provide updates about the status of the Superfund site, and continue to work with the PRPs to ensure that risk to human health and the environment is managed as best as possible.

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