A&M flooding expert says dioxin dump is a clear danger
HOUSTON (FOX 26) - "A loaded gun" - Two years ago that's what Professor Sam Brody called the Dioxin dump known as the San Jacinto River Waste Pits.
In the 24 months since, the concerns of Texas A&M's top expert on coastal flooding have grown even deeper.
"If my children were living in that area, I would be very worried," said Brody.
It's worry driven by data. Brody says the Superfund site loaded with 17,000 truckloads of Dioxin waste is perfectly positioned in East Harris County for what he calls "a double dose" of destructive flooding - powerful storm surge up the ship channel from the south followed by a second wave from the San Jacinto as water flows back to the Bay.
Brody says those same flood waters would almost certainly pick up toxin from the pits and reach adjacent neighborhoods.
"It's a problem because when the water comes in the home it brings in sediments from the surrounding areas that can contain very high level of pollutants," said Brody.
EPA inspections have recently revealed more than 40 holes in the dump's protective cap, a plastic and rock coating that's been completely submerged in the swollen San Jacinto.
Dr. Brody says it's no match for a future hurricane.
"FEMA has up graded that site to a 'V' zone which means there are velocity waves hitting that site. It used to be an 'A' zone which was just rising water, so we know that area is subject to extreme force," said Brody.
"Extreme force" that is coming and capable of pushing the cancer-causing contaminant miles inland and out into the food chain in Galveston Bay.
"To answer your question, it's not if, but when and my hope is no time soon," said Brody.
"If we are interested in protecting the health and the property of our residents, we should clean that site up. It's a no brainer."
The EPA says it will announce plans for the future of the Superfund site on July 28th. If a clean-up is ordered International Paper and a subsidiary of Houston based Waste Management will be ordered to foot the sizable bill.