EPA okays PRP to continue waste pits work

THEA Activists unhappy with decision; prefer EPA takeover

HIGHLANDS – On April 18, EPA issued a letter to the potentially responsible parties (PRPs) for the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site following EPA’s January 5, 2024, notification to the PRPs of serious deficiencies in the remedial design for the site.

Today’s letter provides notice that after reviewing the PRP’s plan for addressing these deficiencies, EPA decided the plan and other information provided by the PRPs are sufficient for them to continue performing required work at the site.

The PRPs are required to continue working to address all deficiencies and comments and submit a full remedial design within 90 days for EPA’s approval, with strong provisions in the Administrative Settlement Agreement to enforce these requirements.

The PRPs are required to submit incremental design deliverables to ensure that the remedial design stays on track and achieves the removal of the waste in compliance with our record of decision. Please see EPA’s letter and comments for more details.

After EPA issued their letter of decision, THEA president Jackie Medcalf issued the following statement:

Greetings San Jacinto Community,

I write to you today with disappointing news regarding the San Jacinto River Waste Pits. The EPA recently communicated via email that it would not proceed with the previously warned takeover of the Superfund process for the Northern Waste Pit.

In January, the agency issued a “Notice of Deficiency” to the Waste Pits’ responsible parties, International Paper Company and Waste Management subsidiary McGinnis Industrial Maintenance Corporation. The companies responded to the EPA and in the letter linked below, the agency explains their response is satisfactory enough to allow the responsible parties to continue the design process. In my opinion, the companies’ response was a plan to make a plan, which they have failed to do in the past 7 years.

Although the EPA possesses the legal authority to assume control of the Superfund Site, it has chosen to grant the parties an additional 90 days to finalize the design for remediation. The design, a pivotal aspect of the Superfund process, encompasses crucial details ranging from the remediation timeline and worker safety protocols to the methodology for site sampling to ensure comprehensive cleanup.

Today is a day that communities worldwide celebrate Earth Day, and our communities near the San Jacinto River are grappling with a disheartening announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It’s essential that during this time,
the community remain engaged and vigilant to ensure our ultimate goal – full removal of the Waste Pits Superfund Site.

Please do not hesitate to contact me or THEA’s team with questions or concerns.

Best regards,
THEA Founder & CEO

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