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San Jacinto River Coalition hears EPA updates

A barge and tugboat pass the Waste Pits in the channel of the San Jacinto River. The barge traffic was one of the topics discussed at this week’s Coalition meeting.

HIGHLANDS – The San Jacinto River Coalition held their monthly meeting last Tuesday night, and director Jackie Young brought the group up to date with information recently received from the EPA.

She said that after not hearing any new information from the agency for several months, they now had emailed her and were planning on holding a Community Advisory Committee meeting in Houston next week. These groups are supposed to be an interface between the public and the EPA on environmental concerns, but have rarely occurred. In spite of its name, the meeting is not open to the public community.

EPA reported in the recent email that they had conducted sonar exams after Tropical Storm Imelda of the waste pits cap and liner. They determined that the liner had not been torn where a loose barge had grounded, due to a heavy rock coverage at that point. However, they conceded that the site was a “dynamic environment” subject to continued change. They said that some erosion had occurred during the flood, and some new deposition of new soil. Some of the site had been repaired, and more work was scheduled.

Young revealed that about 39% of the remedial design package had been completed, and the South site was due to be announced in April, and the North in May. At that time, negotiations with the Responsible Parties can enter into serious legal and financial talks.