Dioxin removal on San Jacinto opposed by some Galveston groups

Partially submerged in the San Jacinto river lay 15,000 truckloads of cancer causing Dioxin waste.

It's genuinely scary business, so scary some who depend on Galveston Bay for their livelihood don't want the toxins disturbed, preferring instead construction of a permanent tomb or cap to isolate a substance considered among the most dangerous on the planet.

"With a permanent cap, a permanent armored cap it kind of takes mother nature out of play. You already have an existing solution. It's going to be watched 24 by 7. There is still going to be testing going on," said J.T. Edwards of the Galveston Maritime Business Association.

Edwards and others fear an EPA proposal to excavate and haul away Dioxin stored in the precariously capped Superfund site could cause a disaster, if the removal process is interrupted by a storm.

"There is one thing you cannot control. You cannot control mother nature. You don't know about storm swells, you can't predict for that," said Edwards.

But Scott Jones of the Galveston Bay Foundation says engineering techniques proven at other sites will allow extraction of the toxic waste in carefully planned stages with contingency plans for heavy weather.

"You can plan for removing it correctly and you certainly don't do it during hurricane season, so you lower those risks," said Jones.

Jones along with an overwhelming majority of local residents in East Harris County say Texas can no longer leave what amounts to a ticking environmental time bomb exposed for centuries to high velocity hurricane surge.

"I think the lesson of Harvey is we need to remove this. We can't keep dodging this bullet year in and year out," said Jones.

The EPA says the Dioxin waste will remain toxic for 700 years. Jones and others say there's no certainty as to who will maintain a capped site for the next century or the six that follow.

In addition to the GMBA, Fox 26 has confirmed the Texas Association of Business is opposing complete removal of the Dioxin waste at the SJRWP site.