The TxHEA organization, the environmental watchdog for the San Jacinto River Waste Pits, held their regular monthly meetings last week in Highlands and McNair.
Executive Director Jackie Young reported on developments in the review process that is now ongoing, according to David Gray of the EPA.
Young said that the PRP, or Potential Responsible Parties, have asked for a further extension of the comment perior, but that has been denied by EPA, indicating they are moving ahead with their review process. Young said that a total of 57,000 comments had been received, but these include signatures on petitions, as well as individually written remarks. The comment period ran for 105 days, from Sept. 28, 2016 thru Jan. 28, 2017. Since the typical public comment period is 30 days, EPA responded to the request from MIMC “EPA has determined that a further extension… is not appropriate.” MIMC is McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corporation, one of the two PRPs.
In their request for a further extension, MIMC stated that they were conducting work at the site for aesthetic reasons, and that the stone and membrane “cap” on the pits has not required as much maintenance as EPA projected.
To counter this argument, Young presented a slide that detailed erosion or damage, and repairs that were required, from July 2012 until June 2016 totalling seven different events. She termed these episodes
“The Repair Saga Continues.”
Next Young presented a report on 101 wells that were tested by Harris County’s contractor, InControl Technologies. She noted that all the wells had dioxins and metals below the allowble safe threshhold, but questioned whether this limit should be lowered for safe water use. She said that Harris County Polllution Control would be at the March 7 meeting of TxHEA to discuss this further.
In discussing the public comments that were submitted to EPA by TxHEA, Young noted that one of the requests was to lower the allowable dioxin threshhold on the treated site from 300 ng/kg, to 30 ng/kg. This material is termed the Principal Threat Waste, and the threshhold will determine how much of the polluted material is removed.