Thursday, July 7, 2011

Partners reach milestone in San Jacinto River cleanup

By STEPHEN THOMAS | 0 comments

Along an eastbound service road, a couple of miles from the intersection of Interstate 10 and the west bank of the San Jacinto River in Channelview, stands a white sign that reminds motorists of the littering prohibition. Near the intersection ahead lay a major milestone in the cleanup of an epic discharge of waste containing the deadly chemical dioxin.

New signs are posted there, each of which begins with the centered word “DANGER!” in red capital letters and with an exclamation point, reminding citizens of a seafood consumption advisory.

The area is designated the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site, where a protective barrier designed to contain the release of dioxin into the river is near completion, Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan announced at the site on Wednesday, July 6. Environmental sampling continues in the pursuit of a permanent solution and toward the protection of residents and others who fish from that area and in waters that wind down into Galveston Bay.

Following Ryan’s 2008 election, the county attorney’s office prioritized the amelioration of the environmental and public-health hazard. The office accordingly, in conjunction with Harris County Precinct 2, negotiated a memorandum of understanding which, in effect, documented the remedial partnership of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 6, the State of Texas and two corporations, the industrial processes of which released the unintended contamination. They are McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corporation and International Paper Company.


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