Dioxin dump leaking after hammered by Harvey

In a neighborhood not far from the San Jacinto River, the sheer force of Harvey-driven flooding is still on display, including a recreational vehicle picked up and left perched on a tree and a mobile home carried off its pad by the swift moving current.

Destruction is everywhere. It was the same water which slammed over the Superfund Site where 15,000 truckloads of Dioxin waste have been stored for half a century.

Residents like Greg Moss believe the toxin was likely lifted and left in yards and homes.

"It tells me it's time to dig those pits out and get rid of them and protect the public health," said Moss.

Less than half a mile from the waste pits is another example of what the flooding San Jacinto River left behind, specifically, a hole where a house once sat. The structure is simply gone.

It took a few weeks and the work of a dive team, but the Environmental Protection Agency has now confirmed what many had feared -- that traces of Dioxin more than two thousand times what scientists consider safe were detected in sediment outside the dump after the flood.

"This is a very real and serious situation," said activist Jackie Young of the Texas Health and Environment Alliance. "These contaminants are dangerous." 

Young also said the latest post-flood tests offer further alarming proof that tons of cancer-causing waste cannot be contained safely on and beneath a volatile river.

"We need the companies responsible for this site and anonymous groups who support containment to stop fighting -- stop fighting the EPA, stop fighting the community and do the right thing and take the waste out of the river," added Young.

Moss said is convinced the pits have claimed many lives already and will cause more cancer unless something is done.

"You've got seven-year olds that are dying," added Moss. "You've got twenty-year olds that are dying. You've got 25-year olds that are dying and they should be living a good happy, healthy life."

Advocates of leaving the Dioxin where it is entombed in a permanent structure have suggested that the "temporary cap" held up pretty well through the storm. But the EPA discovery of leaked Dioxin renders that claim insupportable.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will deliver his final decision on the dump's future by Oct. 14.

Up Next:

  • Popular

  • Recent

More from FOX 26 Houston