HARRIS COUNTY (FOX 26) - The Environmental Protection Agency says the breach in its Superfund site on the San Jacinto River is bigger than a two story building.
Today EPA inspectors surveyed the breach in what the agency calls a "time critical" action to repair a gaping 25 foot by 22 foot hole and contain the release of cancer causing Dioxin waste.
"To me it is an emergency and we need move as fast as we can," said Congressman Gene Green.
Green came to the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site looking for assurance that rapid and effective action is underway.
"I don't know how long it took to discover this leakage, the last thing we need is more Dioxin in the public water system," said Green.
The EPA tells Fox 26 a plan to repair the so-called "armored cap" has been approved although the actual work will not begin for six days and won't likely be completed until the middle of January.
In the meantime the river remains completely exposed to contamination.
Longtime residents Doyce and Rea Bobo believe the pits have been leaking poison for years.
"I lived on this road and I watched them cover this thing up. That ain't no more than me putting a band-aid on and taking a shower. The band-aid came off. They didn't contain it. They just covered it up with plastic and put rocks on it," said Doyce Bobo.
"There's like five or six people within a half mile of my house that have cancer. They are either dead or have cancer now," said Rea Bobo.
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has demanded that Waste Management and International Paper remove their Dioxin waste from the river side before a major storm strikes.
He says the latest leak is compelling proof the cap cannot withstand the force of nature.
"The responsible parties would rather spend a few million dollars delaying it than hundreds of millions of dollars fixing it," said Ryan.
In addition to overseeing repairs the EPA says it will test river sediment to gauge how much, if any, Dioxin escaped.