Friday, November 20, 2009

Hidden poison: San Jacinto River's submerged toxic dumps must be secured, and soon

----- Original Message -----
From: Terry S. Singeltary Sr.
Sent: Friday, November 20, 2009 10:46 AM
Subject: San Jacinto River's submerged toxic dumps must be secured, and soon

Hidden voice San Jacinto River’s submerged toxic dumps must be secured, and soon HOUSTON CHRONICLE Nov. 19, 2009, 8:18PM

Since 2005, state and federal environmental officials have known the source of dangerous levels of the carcinogen dioxin originating in the San Jacinto River and contaminating seafood harvested from northern Galveston Bay.

Industrial waste pits that operated nearly a half century ago and are now submerged due to subsidence under the river just north of the I-10 bridge continue to leak toxic sediments, particularly during coastal storms. Because that portion of the river is subject to tidal flow, the chemicals can also be driven upstream.

As a result of the pollution, state officials have issued guidelines advising residents not to eat more than one eight-ounce serving per month of seafood originating in the most heavily contaminated areas of the river, the Ship Channel and the bay.

Thanks to the committed efforts of area elected officials, including Rep. Gene Green, a Democrat, and Rep. Ted Poe, a Republican, the toxic dump, called the McGinnes pits for a now-defunct former owner, was fast-tracked onto the federal Superfund list of sites eligible for cleanup money.

Environmental Protection Agency officials have also pinpointed the companies which absorbed the entities responsible for the chemicals in the dumps and will bear the cleanup costs: International Paper and Waste Management.

So far, so good. However, negotiations between the companies and the EPA over a course of action continue, even as the dump continues to inject its poisons into surrounding waters.

Waste Management officials have proposed immediate measures to confine the chemicals behind flood-proof dikes and levees, but EPA officials want more studies of the potential scope of the polluted area before green lighting the plan. As reported by Chronicle environmental writer Matthew Tre-saugue, EPA spokesman Donn Walters says the agency wants to make sure the companies carry out a complete cleanup- even if it takes more time.

Congressman Green expressed frustration that the company’s offer to begin securing the dumps from the river is not being seized upon. “The immediate thing is to get those containers that are now under water contained right now,” says the congressman. “Tomorrow is too late for me.”

Green says he plans to meet as soon as possible with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to stress the urgency of the situation. Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, whose office is also involved in the negotiations to clean up the dump site, agrees with Green.

“Public health concerns require that the leaking pits be plugged immediately to stop even more new dioxin from poisoning the river and the bay,” commented Ryan. The companies “are offering a way to do that with what we see as a significant short-term fix,” said Ryan, who promises to require them to carry out further remedial action “that is more than a first-aid bandage.”

Even with posted warning signs, right now area anglers are hooking or netting unsafe seafood from the polluted zones and taking the catch home for dinner. Unlike many Superfund sites on dry land, this one continues to spread its carcinogenic legacy into a prime sport and commercial fishery and recreational area.

This isn’t an environmental time bomb; it’s a slow-motion explosion. The EPA must recognize that while complete removal of the toxics is the ultimate goal, cutting off the flow of dioxins into the bay and separating the dump from the river is a priority that can’t wait on more studies.

I hope and pray that Congressman Green, Rep. Ted Poe and Harris County Attorney Vince (Chico) Ryan will do everything they can to get this ball rolling. it's been a long time coming. it's a damn shame when you cannot even eat fresh seafood from Galveston Bay no longer, for fear of these dangerous Toxins being in the seafood we eat, and our children eat. debating this issue for half a century is long enough, clean the crap up, NOW. GO after these companies that have polluted our bay with everything you have. TAKE NO PRISONERS. ...TSS

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

DSHS Issues Fish Advisory for Clear Creek DO NOT EAT ANY FISH !

Galveston Bay blogspot

IKE 77518

turn it up !


No comments: