EPA chief declares dioxin dump "dangerous", pledges clean up

Thirty-four days after personally inspecting the leaking, largely submerged Dioxin dump known as the San Jacinto River Waste Pits, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt returned to Houston to tell stakeholders exactly why he's ordered complete removal of the Superfund site and all the cancer-causing material within it.

"To be on the ground, to witness the threat, the danger that this site poses to the community in person makes a big difference and I'll tell you the difference it makes is urgency," said Pruitt at a gathering hosted by Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan.

Pruitt says leaving the 15,000 truck loads of Dioxin waste in place was an untenable option given the likelihood of future hurricanes disrupting the dump and spreading material which will remain toxic for the next seven centuries.

Critics have suggested the EPA chief would be hesitant to take on the pair of Fortune 500 companies financially responsible for the expensive cleanup. But today Pruitt emphatically pledged the full authority of his agency to force an effective cleanup.

"So many issues that compound this site that we need permanence, certainty confidence that there is not going to be a release in the future. I can assure you from the EPA perspective that we are going to use every bit of jurisdiction, every tool under the statute to get this area remediated," said Pruitt.

Adding urgency to the "dig and haul" solution is the revelation today that rains from Hurricane Harvey literally washed away 6,700 square feet of the toxic waste dump.