Texas River's Toxic Waste Leak Results in EPA's Decision

Damage from Hurricane Harvey resulted in dioxin waste leaking into Galveston Bay.

A toxic waste leak in a Texas waste site resulted in the Environmental Protection Agency agreeing to remove the waste, a decision receiving loads of support from conservation groups.Courtesy Coastal Conservation Association Texas

Houston, Texas — After damage from Hurricane Harvey resulted in dioxin waste leaking into Galveston Bay, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided to remove the toxic substance from the San Jacinto Waste Pits Superfund Site in Channelview, Texas. Coastal Conservation Association Texas reported the news via press release.

The cleanup was approved October 11 and "will protect human health and the coastal environment by removing highly contaminated sediment from the site in a safe manner, using cofferdams and other engineering controls," the press release states. The EPA's plan, which will cost $115 million, estimates that nearly 212,000 cubic yards of dioxin waste will be excavated from the site.

This comes just weeks after the EPA discovered a breach in the temporary cap due to hurricane damage. That resulted in dioxin waste washing downstream into Galveston Bay, although it's unknown how much waste was released from the site.

Mark Ray, chairman of CCA Texas, gave credit to the "dedicated members who spoke up in support of this decision." He added that nearly 2,000 CCA Texas members voiced their concerns regarding the dioxin waste to the EPA.

The next step is the clean-up and removal, which the CCA urged to begin as soon as possible. The conservation organization also asked Texas officials in the press release to analyze tissue samples from crabs and fin fish in the San Jacinto River watershed and update seafood consumption advisories as necessary.