City Passes Ordinance to prohibit toxic landfill
On January 15, 2019, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a “Public Notice” regarding the proposed dredging in the San Jacinto River. The notice described the disposal site as a tract in Beach City, even though the developer, Holtmar Land LLC, had promised the city they would amend the request from the USACE and find another site not in Beach City.
Concerned that the notice did not reflect a new site, Beach City passed an ordinance prohibiting the dumping of toxic waste at the site proposed along McCollum Park Road, with a $2000 per day penalty if violated.
Further action was taken by Mayor Jackey Lasater, who wrote the following letter to the Corps of Engineers and shared it with the residents of Beach City in a newsletter:
“I will share with you my letter to USACE and I urge those that have not written a letter yet to please do so asap. We must continue to prepare for the worst case scenario until the permit is actually amended in our favor.
Re: file #SWG-2015- 00855
Dear Mr. Bader,
My name is Jackey Lasater and I am writing in response to the above referenced permit request. As Mayor of Beach City, I urge you to consider the numerous issues that I/we have in the proposed placement of contaminated dredge material from the ‘area of concern’ located in proximity of the Federal Superfund site in the San Jacinto River near Highlands Texas.
1) The permit request documentation that is posted on the US Army Corp of Engineers website includes a letter to you from the TCEQ, dated August 25, 2016 that concludes “Based on sample results, dredged material, not to exceed the volume cited in the permit application, shall be placed in a hazardous waste landfill or an upland confined disposal area.” I think common sense would dictate that any material that is considered worthy by the EPA to be placed in a hazardous waste landfill, should not be placed in a residential neighborhood adjacent to a family park where children play, picnic, fish and many other family activities.
2) The documents that were submitted in July 2017 to you by Enercon were a bit deceptive regarding the proposed Beach City DMPA location description. They failed to mention in their Project Location Report that the eastern border of the Holtmar property is shared by McCullum Park as described above. The Aerial photograph of the Beach City site (labeled: Figure 13) is now outdated. The western property line is shared with a residence now. The legend for Figure 13 calls for fiberglass panel walls along the perimeter of the property, without allowing for required construction setbacks. The aesthetics of this type of structure in a neighborhood where families exert a lot of effort and expense to maintain an attractive neighborhood would be unacceptable.
3) This location is approximately 800′ from Trinity Bay. All runoff from rain events that don’t go into neighbors’ yards or McCullum park will go into Trinity Bay quickly. Especially during a major rain event of which this area is very prone to as you know. Trinity Bay is home to a number of commercial oyster reefs and marine life that depends on us to not take unnecessary risks. There are safer location options for this material. This location is also vulnerable to major hurricane storm surge as we saw with Hurricane Ike. The negative impact on natural water flow during rain events will exacerbate flooding in the Barrow Ranch subdivision that already has issues with street flooding during heavy rainfall events.
4) All citizens in Beach City are on ground water, most have private wells. The risk of contaminating our ground water with toxins such as Dioxins is a risk, no mater how small, that should not be forced on the citizens of Beach City.
5) The proposed method of delivery of the dredge material is via dump trucks. The Holtmar property is located near the end of McCullum park Rd. Estimates of over 2,200 dump truck loads traveling down a narrow residential street that is frequently used by joggers, walkers, and children walking to friends houses or the park. Although the speed limit is 35MPH, reality is that the temptation to speed by dump truck drivers that are getting paid by the load will prevail often. This is a recipe for disaster that can and must be avoided. This many dump trucks using this residential road will most surely cause damage to the surface that will have to be repaired at the expense of the tax payers.
6) Finally, the one issue that will most assuredly happen immediately if this dredge material is placed at this location. Property values, especially those hundreds of homes in proximity of the site, will be negatively affected. These homeowners do not deserve to have, probably their largest investment, devalued so that someone else can profit.
In summary, there are many environmental, humanitarian, logistic and financial reasons to deny the requested permit. I pray that you will strongly consider the merit of the issues I have presented and deny the permit request.
I also wish to request a public hearing on this matter. I know you have received many letters already but there are many more that would like to be heard but for whatever reason have trouble writing letters.
Mayor Beach City, TX”