Channelview, South Impoundment included in reports
CHANNELVIEW – After a series of meetings over the last two years that have taken place in Highlands, the federal EPA agency decided to expand the audience by holding the latest meeting last Thursday evening in Channelview, at the Flukinger Community Center.
There were several obvious reasons for this change in venue. One, the study area has now been expanded to include the South Impoundment below I-10, which is closer to the Channelview residents. Two, the EPA wanted to be sure the residents on the west side of the San Jacinto River were made aware of the dangers of fishing and recreation in the immediate area next to the Waste Pits. And three, the Superfund Process is long and slow, and this change in venue makes it seem like more is happening than really is.
The audience, partially from Channelview and many from Highlands, listened to EPA staff Gary Miller, Donn Walters, and facilitator Mary Jane Naquin, give an update on the status of the process. Also present at the meeting, observing but not speaking, were the Harris County Dept. of Health, and staff from TCEQ.
Miller showed slides, which included a short history of how the wastes got to the site and when, and then a short dissertation on the types of toxins that could be found in the soil at the site, mainly dioxins and furans, with PCBs in some areas. He made the point for the new members in the audience, that dioxins are known carcinogens, and do not deteriorate with age.
He showed that the waste pits were now covered with a temporary “cap” consisting of a geo-membrane, with a rock fill on top to hold it in place. This cap is what the PRP, or responsible parties, want to call permanent, but many including the San Jacinto River Coalition and the Galveston Bay Foundation, feel is not a satisfactory solution.