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EPA sets community meeting Sept. 24

Map from EPA shows a green dot where the semi truck landed off the I-10 bridge, and the blue area is where the agency took readings to determine if the accident damaged the cap. I-10 railing is the line at bottom.

HIGHLANDS – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in cooperation with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Federal, State and Harris County agencies, local officials and industry, plan to hold a Community Meeting for the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site. During the meeting an update will be provided on current site activities and the cap inspection data.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Highlands Community Center, 604 Highland Woods Drive, Highlands, Texas 77562.

WASTE PITS: Did Semi crash damage cap?

HIGHLANDS – This month’s meeting of the THEA/San Jacinto River Coalition dealt with potential threats to the integrity of the cap over the waste pits, as the community waited for the slow process of removing the toxic waste to go forward.

Jackie Young announced that she had learned that the Pelican Asphalt Permit, wanting to dredge areas near the Waste Pits, had been approved on July 3 without any further public notice.

She also reported on a discussion with the EPA about the position of the marker buoys in the river, which are to protect the cap from marine vessels. She said they determined they were not in the proper location, and the EPA had them moved.

Jackie reported that in a discussion she had with the new acting director of EPA/ Region 6, David Gray, she was able to make the point that THEA/SJRC felt that the PRP work now being conducted should be monitored and inspected by an independent third party.

CONCERN FOR SEMI ACCIDENT DAMAGE

The semi-truck that went over the railing on June 27 and landed in the river, was very close to the perimeter of the waste pits site. EPA took sonar readings on July 10th of the cap after the truck was removed, and reported that no damage was detected. They furnished a map showing two profiles they had which showed no change in the cap or the outline of the pits. Jackie questioned whether the technique used and the scope was adequate, noting that in 2015 after the tax day flood, divers discovered a 22×25 gap in the membrane that had been missed by other techniques.