At their regular monthly meetings, members of the San Jacinto River Coalition heard updates on various issues related to pollution in the waste pits in the river, and in their private water supply wells.
In addition, SJRC director Jackie Young brought the latest news from the EPA, and the representatives of the PRPs, or Potential Responsible Parties.
Harris County’s Rock Owens, who is managing attorney for the Environment and Infrastructure Practice Group in Vince Ryan’s office, reported to the audience that they had dropped the appeal of the lawsuit against International Paper Company. The county lost this suit in a jury trial, but contended that the trial judge withheld evidence that would have brought a different outcome. Attorney Owens said that their office had decided to drop the appeal because of the unlikely result they could win, and to focus their resources on other environmental problems.
Harris County Pollution Control director Bob Allen reported on the next phase in the county’s testing of private well water. He said that they had tested 101 wells in Channelview, Highlands, and Lynchburg, and found dioxin in all of them, but at levels that were considered not a risk to health. He said they now wanted to test the other wells in the area, and had sent out 148 letters and advertised in the local paper, to get consent to test more wells. They will be tested for 17 types of dioxin and furan. He said they know of about 15 wells on the west side of Highlands, and 140 wells in Channelview that might qualify for this additional testing. Information on this is available at pcs.harriscountytx.gov.