EPA finds high levels of dioxins exposed at San Jacinto Waste Pits

- The San Jacinto Waste Pits are dark colored lagoons full of what some are calling cancer-causing dioxins.
Representatives with the Galveston Bay Foundation say at one point the contents spilled into the water.

"There was a series of floods in 2015 and the EPA found a hole in that northwest quadrant so the river was directly exposed to those wastes," says director of advocacy Scott Jones.

This is what both the Galveston Bay Foundation and the Galveston Maritime Business Association is trying to prevent from happening in the future. The site currently has a temporary cap on it, but now the groups are looking for a long term solution. A permanent cap or for the waste to be hauled away by about 15,000 truck loads to another more secure site.

"Galveston Maritime Business Association calls for a permanent cap to be placed over the existing temporary cap in order to contain and isolate toxic material and safeguard our communities health, it's environment and our local businesses," says executive director of G.M.B.A., J.T. Edwards.

"The EPA proposes to isolate the waste site then excavate and remove the waste. Some people call that dig and haul, that's appropriate, they would remove the waste, it's going to go it by truck, it's going to go to another location that is safe to store waste, by in a river, so we are talking about a containment facility that is lined, that's managed, that is monitored," says Jones.

While both groups agree the priority is to protect the people, businesses and surrounding areas, they can't agree on a solution to the problem.

"This is a colossal engineering challenge that we fear is guided more by politics rather than practicality," says Edwards.

"Since the cap we have seen areas that were exposed to the river so we have to draw a conclusion that it can escape to the environment," says Jones.

The EPA sent FOX 26 News a statement Thursday night that says the site was recently tested by a dive team. Fourteen spots were looked at and one was found to have a damaged protective cap that and that underlying waste was exposed. The EPA recommends clean up at 30 ng/kg or a level that is protective of a recreational fisherman, the sample showed dioxins of 70,000 ng/kg.

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