HOUSTON — More than a week after Harvey raked across southeast Texas, drone footage shows the floodwaters still surrounding the San Jacinto Superfund site — where toxic dioxins from an old paper plant could have leaked.
“Most likely we will have to take some samples at this site,” said the Environmental Protection Agency’s Sam Coleman.
Of the 41 Superfund sites — places storing sulfuric acid, heavy metals and waste oils — that were in the storm’s path, 13 were flooded. And with the waters receding, workers were finally able to see several locations up close.
“You can see some of the debris and other things. It’s still quite muddy,” Coleman said.
He says the San Jacinto River waste pits will require further inspection, especially the protective cap that prevents any seepage.
“We have a team that’s already out looking at the cap area to see if there’s any damage,” he said.
That worries Sandra Carrasco, a 28-year-old mother of two, who lives half a mile from the Superfund site.
She returned home last week after 10 feet of water destroyed her home. She’s been cleaning up ever since.
“I know the water is probably pretty bad — a lot of bacteria, a lot of dangerous, hazardous, touching stuff, but I mean we have to do what we have to do,” Carrasco said.
She says no one from the EPA or any other government agency has talked to them about the health risks posed by hazardous waste.
The EPA plans to test the water and soil near the San Jacinto Superfund site, but they haven’t said when they will conduct those tests. Residents hope it happens soon.
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