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EPA meeting June 23 will report on Waste Pits

Rachel Jordan, at left, of THEA updated CHIC members last Thursday, May 26. Above, Ginnie Ramsey and Carolyn Stone of CHIC at the meeting in Channelview.

CHANNELVIEW – CHIC members and guests heard of recent activity regarding the remediation of the San Jacinto River Waste Pits, at a meeting held last month at the Channelview FD Station 3.

Public interest remains high regarding the waste pits, and the EPA plans a public meeting for everyone on Thursday June 23rd at 6:30pm at the Flukinger Community Center in Channelview.

At the CHIC meeting, presented by Rachel Jordan of THEA, attendees learned that work will start in the fall of 2022 to excavate the toxic material in the South impoundment. Jordan shared information from a CAC (Community Awareness Committee) meeting that was held in Houston on May 16th with EPA representatives.

The report from the CAC meeting was divided into the South and North impoundments, because the schedule and type of remedial work are different.

For the Southern impoundment, the updated RD (Remedial Design) package is due in June 2022, and contractor selection, procurement, and excavation work are scheduled to start in Fall 2022. This section of the work had a new EPA Remedial Project Manager, Lauren Poulos.

For the Northern impoundment, the PRP (Potential Responsible Party) has requested an extension of time to finish the 90% Remedial Design, which is due June 26, 2022. The PRP said in their request that the scope of the project has changed (i.e. greater depth and volume of waste) and the engineering complexities have increased. In addition, the PRP consultant raised the issue of interference with a new I-10 bridge, both the alignment and the work areas possibly overlapping.

The EPA Region 6, headquartered in Dallas, has a new regional administrator, Dr. Earthea Nance. On April 15 of this year, she responded by saying that EPA believes information in the 90 percent design is sufficient, and that proceeding will benefit other stakeholders and aid EPA in evaluating the final design. Therefore, the request for an extension was denied, and the schedule remains the same.

The Community Meeting on June 23 with EPA, TCEQ, and other interested parties, is to provide an update on current site activities and next steps. Following the updates, a question-and-answer period will open, allowing the public to gain further information on these subjects.