Monday, July 14, 2008

Heedless practices of Texas industry and DREDGING OF SHIP CHANNEL, now poisoning sport fishing industry, AND IT'S CONSUMERS

Heedless practices of Texas industry and DREDGING OF SHIP CHANNEL, now poisoning sport fishing industry, AND IT'S CONSUMERS

News Release July 8, 2008 DSHS Issues Fish Consumption Advisory for Galveston Bay The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has issued an advisory warning people to limit their consumption of spotted seatrout and catfish from Galveston Bay. The advisory, which includes Chocolate Bay, East Bay, West Bay, Trinity Bay and contiguous waters, was issued after a two-year study showed elevated levels of dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in the two fish.

Other fish species such as red drum, black drum and flounder were sampled and are safe to eat.

Adults are advised to limit consumption of the two fish to no more than one 8-ounce meal a month. Women who are nursing, pregnant or who may become pregnant and children should not eat any catfish or spotted seatrout from these waters.

PCBs are industrial chemicals once used as coolants and lubricants in electrical transformers and capacitors. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned PCBs in 1979, but items containing PCBs did not have to be replaced. PCBs degrade slowly in the environment.

Dioxins are formed as unintentional by-products of many industrial and chemical production processes and incomplete combustion.

Long-term consumption of PCBs may cause cancer and reproductive, immune system, developmental and liver problems. Dioxins can cause skin rashes, liver damage, weight loss, reproductive damage and may increase the risk of cancer.

Spotted seatrout, also knows as speckled trout, is a favorite among recreational anglers in coastal waters. The DSHS advisory does not prohibit catching or possessing either fish species. The contaminants do not pose a threat to other recreational uses of the bay such as swimming or other contact recreational activities.

Fish consumption advisories have been in effect for the Houston Ship Channel and upper portion of Galveston Bay since 1990.


(News Media: For more information, contact Emily Palmer, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-458-7400.)

see maps ;

Galveston Bay blue crabs

Houston Ship Channel and Upper Galveston Bay Advisory Area: ADV-3 The Houston Ship Channel and all contiguous waters including the San Jacinto River below the U.S. Highway 90 bridge and Upper Galveston Bay north of a line drawn from Red Bluff Point to Five Mile Cut Marker to Houston Point. Contaminant of Concern: Dioxin Species Affected: Blue crab Consumption Advice: 1. Adults should limit consumption of blue crab to no more than one (1) eight ounce (8 oz) meal per month. 2. Women who are nursing, pregnant, or who may become pregnant and children under twelve (12) years old should not consume blue crab from this area.

Galveston Bay Fish

Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, and Harris Counties ADV-20 Issued October 9, 2001 ADV-35 Issued July 8, 2008

TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES FISH AND SHELLFISH CONSUMPTION ADVISORY ADV-35 This advisory is issued as a result of sampling of Trinity Bay and Upper and Lower Galveston Bay in Chambers, Galveston, and Harris Counties. Gaftopsail catfish and spotted seatrout collected from Trinity Bay and Upper and Lower Galveston Bay indicates the presence of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDDs/PCDFs or “Dioxin”) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at concentrations exceeding health assessment guidelines established by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Consumption of catfish species and spotted seatrout from Galveston Bay may pose a threat to human health. COUNTY: Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, and Harris Counties AREA: Galveston Bay including Chocolate Bay, East Bay, West Bay, Trinity Bay and contiguous waters. SPECIES AFFECTED: All catfish species and spotted seatrout CONSUMPTION ADVISORY: Persons should limit consumption of catfish and spotted seatrout from this area to no more than one eight-ounce meal per month. Women who are nursing, pregnant, or who may become pregnant and children should not consume catfish or spotted seatrout from these waters. This advisory shall remain in effect until rescinded or modified in writing. Issued this 8th day of July, 2008 David L. Lakey, M.D. Commissioner

Characterization of Potential Adverse Health Effects Associated with Consuming Fish or Blue Crab from Lower Galveston Bay Chambers, Galveston, and Harris Counties, Texas June 2008

Characterization of Potential Adverse Health Effects Associated with Consuming Fish or Blue Crab from Trinity Bay and Upper Galveston Bay Chambers, Galveston, and Harris Counties, Texas April 2008

July 9, 2008, 10:48PM Hold the line Heedless practices of Texas industry now poisoning sport fishing industry.

Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

The State Department of Health plunged bay fishermen into a new reality: Human action has tainted the bay's biology, a circumstance they forget at their peril when they pull a fish out of the water.


OH please, everyone that jumped on the Bayport terminal bandwagon, and all these other port expansions, all in the name of progress, jobs, cruise ships, export, import, etc., knew exactly what you were getting. I said years ago when they started dredging that ship channel out, making it wider and deeper, they were digging up more than they bargained for. we went 2 years while that big dredge crept along out in the ship channel, and we never saw a green tide, just mud. dead fish, and crabs literally crawling out of the water. what the hell did the think they were going to dig up. well, now you know, and so did they. they tell me it's called progress. but I call it something else. they knew exactly what was going to happen. not to speak of the constant destruction of the shore line from the bigger tanker and cargo ships, running too fast. I see it all the time. it's called money, and we are just killing ourselves, and our environment. sadly, no one cares anymore, and when they do finally care, it's too late. think about this the next time you sit down for some fried spec fillets and or a pot full of big blues, and the next time you go to the voting booth. ...

still disgusted in Bacliff, Texas USA

Bayport, the Economy and the Real Estate Market By M.A. Anari International trade growth has played a key role in Houston's remarkable economic recovery from the oil price collapse of the mid-1980s. Along with health care and research, space exploration and high-tech industries, international trade helped diversify the city's formerly energy-centered economy.

This strong trade sector is the impetus for the Bayport expansion project, which will expand industrial shipping facilities in the Port of Houston. The trickle-down effects of the $1.2 billion, 15- to 20-year project will no doubt have an impact on the Texas real estate industry.


RECREATIONAL BOATING BUSINESSES, along with the seafood industry and environmental groups, have voiced opposition to port expansion, citing adverse effects. The Port of Houston is competing with South Atlantic and Gulf ports for a bigger piece of the growing containerized cargo business.

You know, i hear most of the guides, the industries of the fisheries, and even the fisherman/woman, and even myself to a certain extent, ''oh i have eaten these fish and crabs all my life and i am not sick'', then i think of all my friends and family that have died from some sort of cancer over the years, that they too ate the same fish and crabs, and then i begin to wonder? in my opinion, this is not something that we should ignore. we should be mad as hell about it. i am, in fact, i am disgusted. so, i ask the following ;

WHAT do you do with a freezer full of specs, tainted with PCBs ???

FISH FRY FOR ALL Bayport expansion proponents AND the dummies that voted with them at the spillway park !!!

NOW, i know bayport did not put those PCBs and toxins in the bay, but they knew what was going to happen before they ever started dredging that ship channel, (and no one will ever convince me that dredging that ship channel out did not play a major role in this), but, they did it anyway. now, Galveston Bay, and all the rest of us that love it so much, will all suffer for their greed for decades to come. ...



END...JULY 2008...TSS

Terry S. Singeltary Sr. P.O. Box 42 Baycliff, Texas USA 77518


August 16, 2001

Meeting of the Houston Ship Channel Dioxin

TMDL Stakeholder Group

Stakeholders Present: Chris Barry, Charles Beckman, Linda Broach, Ralph Calvino, Tracy Hester, Pam Kroupa, Kristy Morten, Tina Proctor, Luis Sueiro, Lial Tischler, Jack Wahlstrom, John Westendorf Support Team Present: Lisa Gonzalez, Sara Hausman, Paul Jensen, Larry Koenig, Carl Masterson, Randy Palachek, Hanadi Rifai, Yu-Chun Su, Monica Suarez, Pris Weeks Others Present: Louis Brzuzy (Shell-Deer Park), Kirk Dean (Parsons ES), Phyllis Frank (Parsons ES), Joe Phillips (Shell-Deer Park), Tom Weaver (Houston ESA), Chuck Wemple (H-GAC), Bernadette Williams (City of League City) Materials Distributed:

· March 1, 2001 meeting summary · Summary of other Dioxin TMDL Studies in the United States (Rifai, et al., Aug. 2001) · Evaluation of High-Volume Water Sampling to Support Development of TMDL for Dioxins in the Houston Ship Channel (Rifai, et al., Aug. 2001) · Dr. Rifai’s PowerPoint presentation

1. The meeting for the Houston Ship Channel Dioxin TMDL Stakeholder Group was held from 1:30-4:30 PM at the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL), 2700 Bay Area Blvd., Houston, Texas 77058, Bayou Building 1st Floor, Forest Room. Pris Weeks of the Environmental Institute of Houston (EIH) welcomed the group. Self-introductions were made. Meeting agenda items were re-ordered and approved.

2. The March 1, 2001 meeting summary was approved without further changes. Membership issues were addressed. Stakeholder, Brad Ellis, has left the City of La Porte. It was agreed that his seat would be replaced by inviting Steve Spears with City of Pasadena to serve as a stakeholder. The HSC Dioxin stakeholder meetings will continue to be held at the UHCL campus. However, UHCL has recently changed its parking policy. It will now cost $3 per person to park in Visitor Lot R and $0.75 to park in the visitor lot in Lot D. EIH will have parking tokens available for the $0.75 parking.

3. Clean Rivers Program Update: A sediment and tissue sampling project is being conducted by PBS&J through a contract with the Houston Galveston Area Council (H-GAC). The project wants to emphasize tissue data (oysters, hardhead catfish and blue crab) collection (70%), but also includes sediment sampling data (30%). The focus was on stream segments not sampled in


previous efforts. Sediment sampling stations were located in side bays, the main Houston Ship Channel (HSC) and open bay. The range was similar for hardhead catfish and blue crab sampling as well. Oysters were collected in Galveston Bay below Barbour’s Cut. Samples were sent to Wright State University for analysis. Results are expected in 1-2 weeks. Tropical Storm Allison made some locations difficult to sample for the indicator species. Debris generated by TS Allison and the HSC maintenancedredging project made is difficult to obtain some samples. Samples may include additional sediment brought in by flows associated with TS Allison. Normally 1-2 feet of sediment accumulates per year in the upper HSC. That much sediment was accumulated in the week after TS Allison event. Each sediment sample analyzed is a composite of three samples taken from within the same cross-section of the channel. Tissue samples consist of three samples each of blue crab and catfish at a given location. The edible tissue is then analyzed. TNRCC Update: TMDL Program Leader, Mel Vargas, has left the TNRCC. His replacement has not yet been found. UH Technical Update: Input from the March HSC Dioxin stakeholder meeting was incorporated into the work plan. This information is included in the report submitted to H-GAC in June 2001 and will be available via the H-GAC website ( <>). The new workplan and a summary of the 4-6 dioxin TMDL reports distributed to stakeholders in May will be presented today. The final version of the Phase II workplan will be completed in August 2001 and the Phase II work is expected to start September 1, 2001. Initially the work will consist of drafting the QAPP. Sampling may begin in spring 2002 and may take two years to complete. Fish tissue data generated by the PBS&J study mentioned above should be available in mid September 2001. Some stakeholders would like to see that data before they issue comments on the Phase II work plan.


Some stakeholders suggested that winter would be a better time to collect tissue samples in the upper reaches of segment 1007. Not many fish are present in that area in the summer. High volume sampling and fish sampling were suggested as two activities that could occur in the winter. Stakeholders asked if the lower HSC (segments 1005 or 1006) could be targeted for tissue sampling. Some stakeholders also suggested that more than one year of data be compiled so that long-term trends can be analyzed. Seasonal trends are useful to understand the dynamics of a system.


Phase II of the study will generate a large amount of congener data that can be analyzed later in the project. Eventually, PBS&J would like to analyze fish gut tissue to determine the source of dioxin e.g., from the food chain or from water. This will be possible if composite samples comprised of tissue from several catfish are used. At the least, consumption advisory species (hardhead catfish and blue cab) will be analyzed. It may be possible to incorporate other organisms as well.

Since future work plans and QAPPs will be based on the Phase II work plan, stakeholders would like to have a chance to review and make comments. The QAPP is due three months after project initiations. Comments on the work plan are needed by August 24, 2001.

Tischler had two suggestions: 1) identify stations so that reference stations are identified, 2) be careful when looking at concentrations in water versus concentrations in fish tissue since standards are based on fish and crab tissue.

4. Hanadi Rifai presented an update on the HSC Dioxin TMDL sampling methodology and available models. A handout of the presentation slides was made available.

Major tasks for work order # 3 (Summer 2001):

Additional information and data from other national studies was reviewed. Here are some good studies going on in other parts of the country. Existing models suitable for dioxin analyses were reviewed to see if anything can be added to the models that will be utilized for this study. Dioxin emission data and information from other TNRCC programs was reviewed to obtain information on wet and dry deposition from air sources. The Phase II work plan was refined and will be presented today. Stakeholder suggestions were incorporated.

Previous dioxin TMDL studies:

The UH team has looked at and has made available the report on the TMDL for total 2,3,7,8-TCDD for the Ohio River. This study was based on highvolume water sampling data. The modeling for this study was straightforward. This study over-simplified the sediment pathway and neglected to consider the air deposition pathway. Three or four other national studies used a simple water based approach. Dr. Rifai will e-mail a summary document when all the information on models used for TMDL is available.

The UH team has also made available the report on the TMDL for total 2,3,7,8-TCDD for the Kanawha River, Pocatalico Creek and Armour Creek (West Virginia). This study used the same endpoint (0.013 pg/L) and flow conditions (greater or equal to a 7Q10) as the study mentioned above for the Ohio River. One point source was identified, as were 70 potential sources.


This study found that contaminated groundwater as well as soil and sediments may have been contributors to the dioxin contamination. A report on the TMDL for total 2,3,7,8-TCDD in the Columbia River Basin has also been reviewed by the UH team and made available. This study utilized a simple approach and no modeling.

Dr. Rifai explained the approach behind high-volume water sampling (HVS), a methodology utilized by some studies. UH and TNRCC are intrigued by this methodology and would like to find a way to incorporate into the HSC Dioxin TMDL workplan. HVS is a fairly simple concept, but can be expensive. The HVS method allows one to look at both the dissolved and filtered components. In this method 200-1,000 liters of water are processed. Particleassociated dioxins are collected on a glass fiber filter. Dissolved dioxins are trapped on a resin placed after filtering. Dioxin is then recovered from both the filter and the resin.

Problems associated with HVS include possibility that the filter and resin can miss some of the dioxin in the sample. The method to obtain the non-filterable solids is labor intensive.

Dr. Rifai recommends the use of HVS for the HSC Dioxin TMDL project. Costs of this sampling methodology could be $4,000 to $5,000 per sample. However, bulk sampling could reduce that cost. Tischler thought that the analytical costs might be a little cheaper- possibly around $3,000. Palachek said the cost per sample could be $2,000 or more.

Dr. Rifai then resented UH findings from their analyses of dioxin emissions data obtained from Risk Burn Reports. This is not the same as Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data. The data was self-reporting data from 30 units around the HSC. The data is generated when a unit does a risk/trial burn for their permit renewal. The data is used by the TNRCC to generate risk assessments. Only one facility has a completed risk assessment. Koenig added that one risk assessment is close to being published. The UH team would have liked to model fate and transport, but could not base a model on only one facility’s numbers. This risk burn data does, however, give an approximate figure for a HSC endpoint.

From the Risk Burn Report analysis the UH team estimated that dioxin air emissions totaled 24 g TEQ per year. This is approximately 10 times the load from direct discharges into water. It should be noted, however, dioxin air emission cannot be directly compared to direct discharges into water. Dr. Rifai then presented the proposed Phase II-III work plan. Phase I ended in June 2001. Phase II should begin at the end of August.


Phase II will consist of:

· Identifying the water quality target · High volume water sampling · Sediment and tissue sampling · Screening models.

Phase III will consist of:

· Air sampling · Sophisticated model development · Load allocation.

The Phase II task of identifying water quality targets has two possible approaches:

1) Water concentration target based on high volume water sampling;

2) Water quality standards based on bioaccumulation factors; link water and sediment concentrations to tissue concentrations The second would require a more sophisticated approach to analyze sediment. Rifai stated that they do not have sufficient information at this point to decide which approach would be best. However, a simplistic approach could not be realistically used for the HSC. The national studies tended to look only at water concentrations. If that same route is taken for the HSC it would be simpler and less expensive, but it may not solve the problem. Tischler stated that the first approach gives no way to determine if the problem is solved. Not much would be gained given that HSC water concentrations do not exceed water quality standards for dioxin, but blue crab tissue samples do exceed the standards.

Koenig suggested that the first approach might be helpful to get the bureaucratic process going.

Tischler stated that the information collected by the first approach is important, but it does not foster enough confidence on which to base an implementation plan.

West stated that one must understand the system to identify a source. Rifai agreed by saying that uncertainty must be reduced to some degree. The Phase II task of monitoring and data collection includes two basic elements:

· Assess current status and trends in the study area · Assess major sources

To assess current status and trends, 34 locations have been identified for sediment sampling, 8 locations identified for sediment core sampling, 32 locations identified for water sampling (particulate and dissolved; spread out across both project phases) and 41 locations identified for tissue sampling. Maps in the report detail the locations of these sampling stations.


Major sources will be assessed by analyzing effluent and sludge, analyzing sediment and water from tributaries, conducting runoff sampling, assessing wet/dry deposition and sampling the stacks at 40 units in the HSC area. West and Tischler suggested that sludge be obtained from the treatment unit rather than from a landfill to obtain the best representation of what is being discharged.

Rifai stated that sludge will be analyzed in Phase II, if there is a “hit”, then the effluent will be analyzed using high volume water sampling. Westendorf asked if Harris County Flood Control ditches would be sampled. He also stated that there are some sources that generate dioxin, but are not required to do stack sampling (e.g. burn barrels). Some people do not know that they generating dioxin.

Tischler asked if more sources would be seen on the Toxic Release Inventory.

Weeks asked about the mention that runoff and wet/dry deposition sampling will be done on a pilot scale.

Rifai stated that yes in Phase II it will be conducted on a smaller scale to assess the relevance of air deposition. If it is found to be relevant, then it will be pursued in Phase III.

West inquired about sediment sampling locations. Jensen stated that sediments will be sampled at the mouth and in the tidal portions of the tributaries.

Dr. Rifai stated that information gathered in Phase II will be used to eliminate those parameters that are not important. The project will then proceed into Phase III.

Dr. Rifai then presented a preliminary conceptual model (see presentation handout). The conceptual model will be refined. High volume data will be used. Runoff loadings will be estimated. Some simple mass balance model might be used to determine which parameters are most important to model. BSAFs will be calculated and the preliminary load allocations will be developed. The goal of the TMDL is the allocation. An allocation amount must be found and linked to a source(s) to come up with the needed reduction. The UH team is continuing its work with stakeholders to develop a project timeline, informational materials, technical presentations. The UH team also responds to questions and information requests and incorporates stakeholder recommendation into their strategy.

Dr. Rifai then discussed Phase II-IIO work plan costs. The estimated total for both phases is $4.1 million, but could be anywhere from $2-5 million depending on how in-depth the TNRCC would like to go. Koenig stated that he hopes the TNRCC can come up with the money to do a good job on the project. The project may need to be stretched out.


Dr. Rifai summarized by saying that Phase II will incorporate two complimentary approaches: high volume water sampling and sediment-tissue sampling with screening models. Phase III will involve air sampling and sophisticated modeling with four complimentary models. She stated that the simple approaches taken in the national studies are not applicable for the more complex HSC. But the best ideas from those studies- high volume sampling will be incorporated. The contribution of air deposition will also be looked at. Sampling will take approximately two years.

5. Weeks than enquired as to when the next meeting could be held. Rifai suggested the next be held 3-6 months after they begin Phase II. The final report for the work done over the summer will be available in September 2001. QAPPs will be placed on the Internet. Stakeholders will be sent a request to review the QAPP and make comments.

Rifai asked if the UH team could see the report for the sediment and tissue sampling project conducted by PBS&J for the Clean Rivers Program. Jensen stated that it would be available upon its submission to H-GAC.

6. Meeting adjourned.

doi:10.1006/eesa.1999.1807 Copyright © 1999 Academic Press. All rights reserved. Regular Article Analysis of Metal Pollutants in the Houston Ship Channel by Inductively Coupled Plasma/Mass Spectrometry

Mahmoud A. Saleh1 and Bobby L. Wilson

Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas, 77004

Received 7 December 1998. Available online 2 April 2002.

Abstract Trace metal pollutants in the surface water of the Houston Ship Channel were determined using inductively coupled plasma/mass spectrometry (ICP/MS). Metal concentrations varied according to sampling sites. Barium, cobalt, chromium, molybdenum, silver, beryllium, antimony, lead, and mercury concentrations were relatively similar throughout the channel averaging 83.25, 0.55, 6.31, 6.66, 0.02, 0.017, 3.61, 0.68, and 0.055 µg/L, respectively. Titanium, manganese, copper, zinc, nickel, and selenium concentrations were found to be higher at stations closer to the Galveston Bay (as the water is turning from relatively fresh water to sea water) with concentration ranges of 102.5–351.7, 0.3–25, 0.3–25, 30–280, 16–77, 6.2–26.5, and 0.0–6.2 µg/L, respectively. Aluminum was found to be much higher at the Buffalo Bayou station (341 µg/L) followed by the San Jacinto station (104 µg/L) with an average of 42 µg/L in the other two stations. Vanadium was found to be unusually high at the Washburn Tunnel station (116 µg/L) and at much lower concentrations in the other three stations, averaging 6.5 µg/L. Iron was also higher at the Buffalo Bayou station (143 µg/L) but was absent at the Lynchburg Ferries station. Arsenic was not found at the Lynchburg and San Jacinto stations. However, arsenic had similar concentrations of 1.983 and 1.835 µg/L at Buffalo Bayou and Washburn Tunnel, respectively. Cadmium was higher at the Lynchburg Ferries station (3.3 µg/L) and ranged from 0.3 to 0.96 µg/L in the other locations. Thallium was not found in any of the stations.

Author Keywords: Houston Ship Channel; trace metals; inorganic pollutants; ICP/MS.

DRAFT, SUBJECT TO REVIEW AND REVISION! Dioxin Stakeholder Meeting 8/31/05

1 Meeting Summary Houston Ship Channel/Upper Galveston Bay TMDL Stakeholder Group August 31, 2005

STAKEHOLDERS PRESENT: Scott Aspelin; Chris Barry; Charles Beckman; Winston Denton; Rory Lang; Ed Matuszak; Sara Metzger; Lial Tischler; Jack Wahlstrom; John Westendorf; Bob Wood STAKEHOLDERS ABSENT: Louis Brzuzy (represented by Jeff Stevenson, Shell); Ronald Crabtree; Luke Giles; George Guillen; Tracy Hester; Joy Ijharah; Guy Jackson; Kristy Morten; Juan Parras; Bob Stokes; Steve Weishar; Kerry Whelan; Kirk Wiles. SUPPORT TEAM PRESENT: Michael F. Bloom; Larry Koenig; Carl Masterson; Mary Jane Naquin; Randy Palachek; Hanadi Rifai; Monica Suarez. OTHERS PRESENT: Mark Woodall, Oxy Vinyls; Mark Harris, ChemRisk; Laura Ferriby, ChemRisk; Pat Radloff, TPWD; Pete Conwell URS; Lisa Arceneaux; Nicole Cass, Port of Houston; Linda Broach, TCEQ; Deb Sneck-Fahr, USGS; Christina Bowden, USGS: Dean Mericas, LTI; Scott Hinz, LTI; Joel Camann, CDM; Ganesh Ghurye; Jon-Paul Komar, Harris County Storm Water Quality; Joe Phillips, Shell; Steven Johnston, GBEP;. WELCOME & INTRODUCTIONS Mary Jane Naquin welcomed participants and opened the meeting at approximately 1:10 PM and selfintroductions were made. REVIEW AGENDA Members accepted the agenda as proposed. ADOPTION OF February 2, 2005 MEETING


There were no changes to the meeting summary and it was adopted by consensus. TMDL PROJECT STATUS Larry Koenig gave the group a quick summary of where the project stands - data collection is virtually finished, and the modeling portion is just beginning. Data Collection. Dr. Rifai brought the group up to date on the Quality Assurance Project Plan – it was approved in January 2005 with a non-substantive amendment in July that added additional high-resolution sediment sampling. She reviewed the location of sampling stations and the number of dioxin samples collected over the first three phases of this project; profiles of dioxin in water (problem area in San Jacinto river), sediment (peak levels of dioxin have shifted to the lower end of segment 1007), catfish (levels are high in fish caught in the tributaries as similar levels found in water samples) and crab samples (there is a need for outlier analysis for tissue samples); and seasonal trends in samples (some seasonal variation in tissue that is not found in water/sediment samples). Dr. Rifai pointed out that there are high, or relatively high, levels of dioxin in the side bays of the Houston Ship Channel (HSC) and in tributaries. Water Quality Targets. There was discussion about identifying water quality targets – should a Houston Ship Channel-specific standard be developed? Should a standard be water quality-based, tissue-based or sediment-based? Should we go with the current .093 standard or an alternate? There is another question of how much sediment contributes to contamination of the water column. There was an effort to collect both shallow and deep samples. The profile shows stratification with deep concentrations that are on average 1.5 times higher than shallow concentrations. A fugacity analysis also showed the possibility of fluxes of dioxins among the various phases. Dr. Rifai presented Toxic Equivalent data (TEQ) that showed peak levels of 2378-TCDD in Segment 1006 for water and sediment TEQ peak levels in the lower portion of Segment 1007). DRAFT SUBJECT TO REVIEW AND REVISION! Dioxin Stakeholder Meeting 8/31/05 2 Sediments. Peter Santschi, Texas A & M University Galveston (TAMUG) is doing a geochronology study of sediment and results to date show dioxin present as long as 100 years ago (non-anthropogenic), but the data from this study has not yet undergone Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC). Flow. Dr. Rifai’s team took flow measurements at fifteen locations and created flow vs. depth variation curves. Six to eight measurements were taken at each location within a week. The question is ‘can instream loads be calculated using the flow data’? Ambient Air. EPA national studies have pointed to air as a signif cant source of dioxins. By and large sampling results at the five air monitoring stations show TEQ concentrations are consistent with some peaks and outliers. 2378-TCDD and three other congeners are present in the vapor stage but not in particulates; five to six are found in both gas and particles; while seven to eight are mostly sorbed in particles. For ambient air, the technical team identified a number of sources of dioxin using the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). Diesel fuel, unleaded fuel vehicles, utility boilers and pulp mills are the four types of dioxin-generating activities that appear in the data clusters using EPA’s Dioxin Congener Profile Source. The data collected for this project seems to show that 2378-TCDD is not present in particles in ambient air (It is present in vapor). Runoff. The technical team monitored storm water runoff in 2002 and again in 2005. There are still outstanding samples. Comparing the 2002 and 2005 results, there are some changes in the congener patterns. There appears to be nothing definitive to say at this time and this situation requires more thought before any conclusion can be made. Potential Source. There is a possible source of dioxin in Segment 1001 of the San Jacinto River just upstream of the IH 10 Bridge. It was a facility that went out of business in the 1970s that had abandoned pits and because of subsidence and erosion is now completely submerged. This location is very near where samples in Segment 1001 show high levels of dioxin. Currently TCEQ’s Superfund team is doing some follow up investigation as to what the abandoned pits contained. TCEQ is requesting anyone with aerial photographs of this location that would show the facility before it shut down to assist the Superfund Site investigation by sharing the photos. Load Estimates. Looking at dioxin loads to the channel, from point sources, runoff, and direct deposition compared to the total load leaving the Houston Ship Channel, 2378-TCDD loads total about 16% and TEQ totals are about 59% of the load leaving the channel. For this TMDL the central issue is still from where does the 2378-TCDD come. It is still there, and if we, look at sediment it might provide a little more of the answer as well as looking at the potential source in Segment 1001. The team proposes to examine sediment in Black Duck Bay (no point sources) and calculate the water concentrations from sediment resulting from partitioning from bottom sediment to dissolved phase. Once this partitioning coefficient is calculated, it could be applied to all the other locations and see how it compares to the profile and see if a sediment load can be derived. There are still data gaps and additional study will be needed during the implementation planning phase to get answers. Modeling. Dr. Rifai briefed the group that the team will be modeling dynamic situations (WASP 7 and DYNHYD models); runoff and atmospheric loads (HSPF model); sediment transport (WASP with measured water-sediment partitioning coefficients). Simulations will be completed for 2378-TCDD and major contributors to TEQ. The lower boundary of the modeling effort will be Morgan’s Point. Dr. Rifai guided the stakeholders through the modeling process and what data would be input to the model. There was much discussion among the stakeholders regarding data and the operation aspects of the model. COMMENTS The following points were raised at various points during the ongoing discussion among the stakeholders: There is a need to look at information on the effect of the salt water wedge on stratification and dissolved oxygen levels. DRAFT SUBJECT TO REVIEW AND REVISION! Dioxin Stakeholder Meeting 8/31/05 3 There could be a clue to levels of dioxin in stratified sediment in looking at the Clean Water Act and the cessation of discharging once-through cooling water from Ship Channel Industries. TCEQ has information to track increases in air emissions of dioxins. Need to look at what areas of the Ship Channel were dredged when looking at the data – and what data is coming from dredge and fill sites and d es dredging affect water sampling? The Port of Houston Authority found no dioxins coming off sediment from their sampling. Need to assemble dredging data for the next meeting. Need to look at circulation patterns of Upper Galveston Bay and the distribution of sediments. NEXT STEPS The final report should be completed by the end of September MEMBERSHIP ISSUES Carl Masterson noted that there are a number of stakeholders who have missed multiple meetings and are up for replacement. The group needs to discuss what categories should be represented. It is important to get replacements at the table. Masterson suggested that the group review the attendance record document that was distributed and send any nominations to him and this would be revisited at the next meeting. Mary Jane Naquin pointed out that members should send alternates if they cannot be present at a meeting. NEXT MEETING No definite date was set for the next meeting other than it will probably be December 2005 or early January 2006. ADJOURN The meeting was adjourned at approximately 3:45 PM.

Environmental Engineering Science Polychlorinated Dibenzo-p-dioxins and Dibenzofurans in Houston Ship Channel Tissue and Sediment


To cite this paper: Monica P. Suarez, Hanadi S. Rifai, Randy M. Palachek, Kirk E. Dean, Larry Koenig. Environmental Engineering Science. November 1, 2005, 22(6): 891-906. doi:10.1089/ees.2005.22.891.


Full Text PDF: • HiRes for printing (421.5 KB) • PDF Plus w/ links (231.8 KB)

Monica P. Suarez Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204. Hanadi S. Rifai Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204. Randy M. Palachek Parsons Water & Infrastructure, Austin, TX 78754. Kirk E. Dean Parsons Water & Infrastructure, Austin, TX 78754. Larry Koenig Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Austin, TX 78711.

Concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs) were measured in sediment, catfish, and crab tissue from 45 locations in the Houston Ship Channel in Texas in the Summer of 2002. Concentrations of individual 2378-substituted congeners ranged from 0.1 to 42,000 ng/kg dry wt, from 0.1 to 230 ng/kg wet wt, and from 0.1 to 260 ng/kg wet wt for sediment, catfish, and crab samples, respectively. OCDD concentrations in sediments were up to two orders of magnitude higher than those for the remaining congeners, but this signature was not observed in catfish and crab samples. Results from this study suggest that despite regulatory controls on discharges from pulp and paper mills, there has been little change over the last 10 years in dioxin concentrations in sediment and tissue from the Houston Ship Channel. Ongoing PCDD/PCDF inputs from urban and industrial areas along the channel as well as resuspension/desorption from contaminated sediments may provide a partial explanation for the lack of change. Simple correlation statistical and principal component analyses were undertaken.

Briefing Paper on Houston Area Bayous II:Houston Ship Channel and Upper Galveston Bay plusAddicks and Barker Reservoirs; Buffalo, Greens and White Oak BayousJim Lester, PhD. and Lisa GonzalezHouston Advanced Research CenterGalveston Bay Status and Trends ProjectFunded by the TCEQ, Galveston Bay Estuary ProgramJuly 2005


Houston Ship Channel Detail 2000sAcenaphtheneAcenaphthyleneAnthraceneBenzo(a)anthraceneBenzo(a)pyreneChrysene1,2,4,6 DibenzanthraceneFluorantheneFluoreneNaphthalenePCBs nsPhenanthrenePyreneTable 8. Detail of industrial organics in sediments of the Houston Ship Channel.ns = Insufficient sample size (< 10 samples). Table created by the Galveston Bay Indicators Project, HoustonAdvanced Research Center. Data source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality


Public Health Issues Three seafood consumption advisories for Galveston Bay and its tributaries have been issued by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) since 1990. While the majority of bay and tributary surface waters are not included in seafood consumption advisories, the DSHS advises that consumption of seafood taken from the Houston Ship Channel and portions of Upper Galveston Bay poses an increased risk of adverse human health effects. All three seafood consumption advisories in 1990, 2001, and 2005 were issued for these areas (Figure 1). Contaminants of concern include dioxin, organochlorine pesticides, and PCBs. Species of concern include blue crab, catfish, spotted seatrout, and other species of finfish. Additionally, the DSHS prohibits the commercial harvest of shellfish from this area.

National Estuary Program Coastal Condition Report Chapter 5: Gulf of Mexico National Estuary Program Coastal Condition, Galveston Bay Estuary Program June 2007


Water and Sediment Quality The GBEP’s formal indicators for monitoring water quality conditions in the estuary include dissolved oxygen, nitrogen (e.g., nitrate, nitrite, ammonia), total phosphorus, chlorophyll a, total suspended solids/ turbidity, salinity, water temperature, pH, pathogens (e.g., Enterococci, fecal coliform), BOD, and TOC. Of the five subbays in the GBEP study area, only Christmas Bay exhibited a slightly increasing trend in dissolved oxygen concentrations, which rose from 7.0 to 8.0 mg/L between 1969 and 2001 (Lester and Gonzalez, 2003). To help measure changes in nutrient levels over time, the TCEQ monitors ammonia, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus. Declines in annual average ammonia levels have been observed in several areas of Galveston Bay, with the most dramatic decline seen in the Houston Ship Channel. For the most part, annual average concentrations remain below screening levels. Nitratenitrite concentrations were highest in the Houston Ship Channel, which demonstrated an increasing trend from about 0 mg/L in 1969 to 1.75 mg/L in 2001. The Intracoastal Waterway East exhibited a significant declining trend in nitrate-nitrite, and the Trinity River had a significant declining trend in phosphorus (since 1969), which has slowed in recent years. None of the five subbays of Galveston Bay showed trends exceeding the estuarine screening levels for nutrients (Lester and Gonzalez, 2003). Annual average concentrations of chlorophyll a have declined across all Galveston Bay subbays and tributaries since 1969, with the largest decreasing trend in chlorophyll a concentrations found in the Houston Ship Channel, San Jacinto River, and Texas City Ship Channel. Monthly average concentrations of chlorophyll a did not show a significant trend in any of the five subbays in Galveston Bay. NCA data collected in 2000 and 2001 for the West Bay region had annual averages similar to those of the TCEQ data, but chlorophyll a concentrations were slightly higher in this region (Lester and Gonzalez, 2003).


Conclusion Based on data from the NCA estuarine survey, the overall condition of Galveston Bay is rated fair. Data from the GBEP and its partners indicate that, in spite of the large human population and increasing resource demands, Galveston Bay remains productive and, for the most part, healthy. The Bay as a whole is not threatened by eutrophication, and nutrient concentrations are decreasing in many areas of this estuary. Several aquatic species exhibit stable trends in abundance. Galveston Bay is not rapidly degrading in terms of increasing concentrations of toxic or organic pollutants; rather, trends in pollution are mixed. Concentrations of contaminants are decreasing in the most polluted areas of the Bay, but are rising in other areas. Even with these stable and, in some cases, improving trends, focus remains on strategic habitat conservation and pollution control as the region’s population continues to expand and land-use patterns trend towards urbanization.

Media Contact: Tom Harvey, TPWD, (512) 389-4453,; Terry Clawson, TCEQ, (512) 239-5000,

Oct. 11, 2007

San Jacinto River Dioxin Site Proposed for Federal Cleanup HOUSTON, Texas — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed listing an abandoned toxic waste site in the San Jacinto River for the federal National Priorities List (NPL). If approved for inclusion on the NPL the site will be eligible for cleanup in the federal Superfund program.

"This listing results from the cooperative efforts of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Region 6 staff," said Patricia Radloff, Ph.D., TPWD water quality program leader. "Our agency is proud to have done the research that initiated the process. TCEQ took our information and moved quickly to authorize additional sampling, which confirmed very high levels of dioxin in the area. EPA verified the information and proposed the site for the NPL, with support from U.S. representatives Gene Green and Ted Poe. The proposed listing today thus represents the culmination of many people working for years to protect human health and public waters."

In early 2005, TPWD became aware of information that suggested waste pits in a sandbar in the San Jacinto River just north of the Interstate Highway 10 (I-10) bridge, including recent and historical photographs and maps of the area. Anecdotal evidence suggested that pits were operated there from the mid-1960’s until around the mid-1970’s to dispose of paper mill waste. Due to subsidence, the pits went underwater sometime in the 1970’s.

The submerged waste pits represent a previously unidentified major source of dioxin and other toxins for the San Jacinto River, the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay. Paper mill waste from the 1960’s and 70’s is known to contain high levels of dioxins and other toxic chemicals from chlorine bleaching processes then in use.

The potential presence of sediment contamination is an immediate concern since the San Jacinto River near the I-10 bridge is very active with respect to dredging, sand mining, and barge berthing. These activities may be spreading potentially contaminated sediments or resuspending dioxins in the water column. Therefore, scientists consider inclusion on the NPL paramount to remove this potential threat to the river, fish and wildlife and people.

"The discovery of this contaminant source and swift action to address it would make a significant contribution to remediate damage done to the health of the Galveston Bay ecosystem," stated Larry McKinney, Ph.D., TPWD coastal fisheries director. "If the site is listed for federal cleanup the human health benefits are clear, but we would also expect to see direct benefits for our fishery, especially for species like spotted seatrout."

In April 2005, TPWD wrote TCEQ advising officials there of the new information and requesting assistance to make sure appropriate measures were taken to protect fish and wildlife. TCEQ moved quickly and sampling under the Preliminary Assessment/Site Inspection (PASI) program at TCEQ was conducted that summer. A complete site inspection report, including sampling data analysis and other background information, was ready in early 2007.

In addition, TCEQ approved reallocating resources for the Houston Ship Channel Dioxin Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) project to sample a broad area around the I-10 Bridge. TMDL project sampling was conducted in August 2005 and results were published in January 2006. The PASI study found very high levels of dioxin in the waste pit area, while the TMDL sampling found elevated levels of dioxin over a much larger area.

The proposed listing stems from EPA’s review of the state site inspection report. Federal scientists have said they agree the site presents a significant threat and must be cleaned up. In a letter dated July 26, 2007, Governor Rick Perry expressed the state’s support for EPA’s plan to add the polluted area to the priorities list.

The term dioxin is used to represent a family of environmentally persistent chlorinated organic chemicals. Dioxins are closely related to two other chemical families, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These compounds are potent animal toxicants and represent a threat to aquatic life and human health at extremely low concentrations. While many organic chemicals are toxic at parts per million concentrations, dioxins and furans are known to be toxic in the parts per trillion and parts per quadrillion ranges.

In addition, dioxins and furans bioaccumulate in animal tissue and their tissue concentrations biomagnify as they move up the food chain. Dioxins can alter the fundamental growth and development of cells. In humans, adverse effects include suppression of the immune system, a variety of reproductive effects from reduced fertility to birth defects, chloracne, and cancer.

Since the 1970’s, sources of dioxin have been greatly reduced, but some sources still exist in combustion of fossil fuels and wood, incineration of solid waste, and certain chemical manufacturing processes.

The Houston Ship Channel, including the lower San Jacinto River, and Upper Galveston Bay are known to be contaminated with dioxin. The Texas Department of State Health Services, formerly the Texas Department of Health, has issued several fish consumption advisories. In 1990, TDH issued a fish consumption advisory for all species of fish and blue crabs for dioxin, organochlorine pesticides and PCBs for the upper portion of the Houston Ship Channel including the San Jacinto River below the U.S. Highway 90 bridge.

In 2001, the agency issued an advisory for all species of catfish and blue crabs for dioxin for Upper Galveston Bay and the lower portion of the Houston Ship Channel. And in 2005, TDH issued an advisory for spotted seatrout for polychlorinated biphenyl compounds (PCBs) for the Houston Ship Channel including the San Jacinto River below the U.S. Highway 90 bridge, Tabbs Bay, and Upper Galveston Bay.

In response to the 1990 advisory, in 2000 TCEQ’s precursor agency began a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) project to identify sources of dioxin and determine the amount of dioxin that the Ship Channel can receive and still support its use as a fishery. Sampling conducted as part of the TMDL project, and earlier sampling done as part of a Houston Ship Channel toxicity study, found high concentrations of dioxins in fish and crab tissue and in the sediments in the San Jacinto River near the I-10 bridge. The TMDL sampling also found high concentrations of dioxin in water there. In both studies the source of dioxin in or near the San Jacinto River could not be identified.

——— On the Net:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Superfund program: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Houston Ship Channel Dioxin TMDL: Texas Department of State Health Services, Seafood and Aquatic Life Consumption Bans and Advisories:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Interference at the EPA - Science and Politics at the U.S. EnvironmentalProtection Agency
please see full text ;

Terry S. Singeltary Sr.
P.O. Box 42
Baycliff, Texas USA 77518

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