CHANNELVIEW – The San Jacinto River Waste Pits southern impoundment is busy with remediation work, at the direction of the EPA.
The contractor is GHD, working for the RP or Responsible Parties. At the Southern site, work is progressing slowly, step by step. Fencing has been installed, equipment for a water treatment system has been delivered and set up, site roads have been built, a guard shack and security are in place, signage has been installed, and debris removed.
Excavation has started and some material has been sent to the landfills. Trucks can be seen on Market Street and I-10 hauling the material away. The landfills have been identified, as Republic in the Beaumont area, and Seabreeze in Angleton. These landfills can accept Class II non-hazardous waste. Therefore workers at the site are taking only minimum protection from the toxins.
Rachel Jordan of THEA said that there had been a release, or spill, of toxic material in March, but it was a small amount and contained. However, it caused the operator to reevaluate procedures and take steps to cap open valves properly.
Daily inspections of the site are being undertaken by GHD, the consulting engineers for the RP, and EPA is reviewing the Emergency Response Plan. EPA is also conducting sampling, but has not announced any results.
As the work progresses, the public at a recent THEA meeting held in Highlands in March had questions.
A question was asked why there is no provision for a third party full-time inspector, instead of the RP contractor’s person.
It was asked whether air monitoring is taking place as work progresses and material is disturbed. The answer seemed to be No.
It was asked whether workers at the Southern site are wearing protective gear, and the answer was No.