Apr 12, 2018

EPA Announces San Jacinto River Waste Pits Cleanup Action

The cleanup action will address potential dangers posed by dioxin contamination at the Harris County, Texas, superfund site

San Jacinto river cleanup action

The U.S. EPA announced that an agreement has been reached with the International Paper Co. and McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corp. to perform a remedial design for the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site selected remedy. The selected cleanup action addresses the potential dangers posed by dioxin contamination at the site in Harris County, Texas.

EPA’s cleanup plan, with support from state partners and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, includes installing engineering controls before excavating approximately 212,000 cu yards of dioxin contaminated material for disposal. The estimated cost for the remedy is $115 million.

The agreement is a result of expedited negotiations between EPA and representatives from both International Paper Co. and McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corp. for design of the cleanup. The remedial design is estimated to take about 29 months to complete to ensure waste is safely and properly contained during construction and removal. The design work will be performed by the companies under the oversight of EPA and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The current quarterly cap inspection and maintenance program will continue while the remedial design is being completed.

EPA’s decision is based on extensive studies of the contamination, and human health and environmental risks of this site. The final cleanup plan considers the ever-changing San Jacinto River, which encroaches on the site, while protecting important downstream resources including the Galveston Bay estuary.

EPA added the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site to the National Priorities List of Superfund sites in 2008 after testing revealed contamination from dioxins and furans near the waste pits. The site consists of two sets of impoundments, or pits, built in the mid-1960s for disposing solid and liquid pulp and paper mill wastes that are contaminated with dioxins and furans.

While the remedial design is ongoing, the U.S. Department of Justice and EPA will begin negotiations with the potential responsible parties to enter into a consent decree regarding construction of the remedy.

 
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