The San Jacinto River Coalition and Texans Together Education Fund released an independent scientific report revealing continued toxic dioxin and furan contamination of the San Jacinto River from the San Jacinto Waste Pits’ Superfund Site. Dr. Stephen King, the Houston toxicologist who wrote the report, states that near the San Jacinto River Waste Pits (SJRWP) Superfund Site that “wading, swimming, fishing, crabbing, and collecting oysters and clams should be banned. It is strongly recommended that the consumption of fish, crabs, oysters, and clams caught in proximity to the SJRWP among vulnerable or at-risk individuals, such as pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly, persons with impaired liver function, and among individuals with an impaired immune system be prohibited.”
Dr. King took sediment and seafood samples in proximity to the SJRWP in September 2011 after completion of a 2011 temporary remediation capping the Waste Pits. Laboratory analysis show that current levels of toxic dioxins and furans are similar to levels found by governmental authorities in 1990 and 2005—indicating serious contamination remains in the San Jacinto River that flows into Galveston Bay. These toxic wastes came from the Champion/International Paper mill in Pasadena. They were dumped in the 1960’s at a 25 acre waste pit site (now owned by Waste Management), on the banks of the San Jacinto River, where it crosses I-10 East. Subsequently submerged, these toxic wastes have been spread for years by the current throughout the River.
Sarah Davis, a resident of nearby Highlands and a San Jacinto Coalition member, said, “We deserve a clean and safe river. Waste Management and International Paper should remove all their dioxin and other contaminants from the River.”
The report and laboratory analysis was funded by a grant received by Texans Together Education Fund, a 501c3 civic engagement non-profit organization, from the Kirk Mitchell Environmental Law Fund.