HOUSTON (FOX 26) - At a partially submerged toxic dump, which contains 17,000 truckloads of cancer-causing Dioxin, waste divers began a critical inspection.
The EPA wants to know just how badly the so called "armored cap" of rock and plastic has been compromised at the Superfund site known as the San Jacinto River Waste Pits.
Back in December inspectors discovered a breach bigger than a two story house, allowing the Dioxin direct contact with the San Jacinto River and everything in it.
More than 80 percent of the dump site remains to be examined.
"They are going to find 20 or 30 more holes," predicted Greg Moss who has lived near the pits for close to 30 years. He believes the once forgotten waste dump has already cost lives and will take more unless the Dioxin is dug up and hauled away.
"I know people who played in them pits and ended up dying of cancer - young people 21, 22 years old. That's not normal," said Moss.
Pamela Bonta goes door to door talking to residents for the San Jacinto River Coalition. She says communities adjacent to the pits are unnaturally riddled with disease - a contention backed, at least in part, by the findings of a recent cancer cluster study.
"The ages arn't just older people. Its 20's, 30's, 40's. They are home because they are sick," said Bonta.
While the EPA has promised a final decision on the dump's future by December residents and environmentalists contend there is mounting risk with every delay.
"If we have a bad enough storm I believe that stuff is going to be around the Bolivar Ferry," said Moss referring to Galveston Island more than 30 nautical miles away.
"A hurricane can move a barge, let a alone a little boulder that's holding down a tarp over the deadliest chemical known to man," added Bonta.
Fearing contamination of seafood, the Galveston Bay Foundation re-emphasized its call for a complete removal and cleanup of the site.
The EPA tells Fox 26 the divers will continue the inspection for "several days".