EPA pledges final solution and better accountability at Dioxin dump

- A massive leak discovered in a toxic waste dump had folks in East Harris County demanding answers and action from the Environmental Protection Agency.

At a town hall meeting in Channelview the EPA promised protection from further leaks and a final solution for the San Jacinto waste pits within a year.

Many residents in the Highlands area fear Dioxin has leaked out of the pits over the past half century triggering higher than normal rates of cancer and rare tumors in children.

Sam Coleman of the EPA told concerned residents his agency was committed to a "higher level of accountability than in the past" including more frequent inspections of the partially submerged Superfund Site, 24 hour surveillance, warning buoys for barge traffic and more testing.

The action was triggered in part by the discovery late last year of a gap in the Dioxin dumps protective cap measuring 25 feet by 22 feet.

 The EPA still doesn't what caused the breach.

Residents including Congressman Gene Green want the the tons of waste hauled away from the community to protect future generations.

"We are told today that the accident exposed Dioxin to the environment and the cap has only been in place since 2011 and has already failed," said Green.

Given the EPA commitment to reach a final determination by the end of the year activists told Fox 26 they believe the agency is signaling a likely "dig and haul" removal of the waste by the responsible parties International Paper and a subsidiary of Waste Management.

"We remain committed to continuing to implement a long-term solution for the site that is safe and protects the public and the environment,” said Thomas Ryan, speaking for both International Paper and Waste Management property MIMC.

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