EPA won't allow delay in San Jacinto waste pits cleanup

It's been five years since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered the companies responsible for the cancer-causing toxins at the San Jacinto River waste pits to fund a complete clean-up.

Last month, International Paper Company and McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corporation quietly lobbied the EPA to let them delay their submittal of the 90% remedial design to dig up all the toxin and haul it away. The 90% remedial design is due in June.

PREVIOUS STORY: Cleanup efforts of massive toxic dump on San Jacinto River remain stalled

On Monday, the EPA responded with a letter saying they have several concerns regarding the proposed delay.

"The agency believes that implementation of the selected remedy will be sped up by submittal of the 90 percent design in June 2022 for EPA review and comment, even if select portions of the design may later require revision," the letter reads. "This is especially true as the agency has not had an opportunity to review a detailed design package since May 2020." That's when International Paper Company and McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corporation submitted their 30% remedial design.

MORE: EPA orders dioxin removal to commence at Superfund site

The EPA also noted that the design is not only for the EPA to review and comment but also for the Texas Department of Transportation, the United States Coast Guard, the Port of Houston Authority, Harris County, and affected property owners.


Having the 90% remedial design will allow these stakeholders to address any issues and potential impacts ahead of the final design approval.

"None of the potential issues or changes cited in your letter prevent submittal of the 90 percent Remedial Design for the Northern Impoundments in June 2022 for EPA review and comment."

CLEANUP EFFORTS: EPA cleanup of San Jacinto Waste Pits draws criticism

San Jacinto River Waste Pits

The deadline remains June 26, 2022.

No word on the response by International Paper or McGinnes Industrial.