The EPA announced Thursday that it has approved a plan to stabilize the riverbed near the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site to address the hazards of a 20,000-square foot area where Hurricane Harvey gouged a pit about 12' feet deep next to the pits.
But at the same time, the EPA and companies responsible for the clean-up say further inspection and tests indicate that a temporary concrete cap appeared to have held during the storm and therefore a major leak of cancer-causing dioxins was averted.
The San Jacinto Waste Pits is the one of 43 Superfund sites in the coastal areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. But it's the only site that required additional follow-up and repairs, the EPA says. The pits were entirely submerged when a wall of water as high as 18' above normal levels flooded the river area.
On Sept. 29, the EPA ordered further testing at the Superfund site after a government dive team collected one sediment sample at the pits that tested at 70,000 micrograms per kilogram - 2,000 times higher than the EPA recommended clean-up level of 30 micrograms per kilogram.
But the preliminary results of six additional sediment samples collected from the northwest corner of the site show far lower concentrations, ranging from only .02 micrograms per kilogram to 38.9 micrograms per kilogram, according to information provided Thursday to the Chronicle by companies handling the clean-up.