Support the EPA proposal to remove the dioxin-filled San Jacinto River Waste Pits!

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The San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site are a series of toxic, dioxin-filled pits in and along the San Jacinto River (about 18 miles east of Houston, TX). The Pits were abandoned by their creator in 1968 and have plagued the river, surrounding communities, Galveston Bay's seafood, and local seafood consumers for decades. In 2015 Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed elevated rates of cancer in children and people of all ages near the Waste Pits.  

If you aren’t familiar with this type of dioxin (2,3,7,8-TCDD), it was the active ingredient in Agent Orange, the chemical warfare agent used extensively in the Vietnam War that has caused horrible harm to the people there and our veterans. If the dioxin currently in the Pits remains capped in place, it could take 750 years, and possibly much longer, for the toxicity to degrade.

EPA delivered a monumental announcement on September 28, 2016. The EPA proposed their preferred remedy to remove 202,000 cubic yards of contaminated material from the Waste Pits with an estimated cost of $96.9 million. The EPA proposal recommends isolating the Pits, excavating the contaminated material, and hauling the waste to a permitted facility to permanently and safely contain the wastes. The remedy proposed uses best management practices and civil engineering capabilities to minimize and even eliminate potential risks associated with removal. 

The surrounding communities, environmental groups, local governments, and 8 Congressional Representatives have made it clear- removal of the wastes is the only option. However, the companies responsible for the Waste Pits, International Paper and McGinnis Industrial Maintenance Corp. (a subsidiary of Houston-based Waste Management of Texas, Inc.), foot the bill for the clean-up and are advocating for the cheapest remedy, containment of the large volumes of highly toxic waste in the delicate and dynamic environment of the San Jacinto River.

A study released in 2015, identified seven Superfund sites similar to the Waste Pits in terms of toxicity and location in a tidally influenced waterway. The EPA required removal of the highest concentrations of waste at all seven sites. 

This is a serious problem that needs to be solved now and not one that should be passed on to future generations. The surrounding communities are continuing to grow, our seafood continues to suffer- as well as the migratory birds and Bald Eagles which consume fish from the river. We commend the EPA for proposing the only remedy to truly protect public health and the environment for future generations. Please let them know you support FULL-REMOVAL of the Waste Pit by signing our petition. 

In addition to signing the petition, you can join us at the EPA Public Meeting to discuss the proposal on Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 6:30pm at the Highlands Community Center (604 Highland Woods Dr, Highlands, TX 77562).