Federal funds granted for mitigation of city's toxic Velasco property

After deserting a deeply toxic site more than 50 years ago, the City of Houston via its Land Bank is getting $5 million in federal dollars to help neutralize a major environmental mess.

The remediation money is coming from the Environmental Protection Agency, but won’t be near enough to completely remove mountains of poisonous ash created by the old Velasco Municipal trash incinerator plant - untold tons of material which extend at least 30 feet beneath the surface.

SUGGESTED: Relief at Last! Power restored to many Houston residents after devastating storm; heat concerns remain

Instead, the Land Bank hopes to excavate some of the waste and then cover about 4.5 acres with a "clay cap" to contain the toxins.

The ultimate goal is to create a community park and put the land to productive use.

FOX 26 Houston is now on the FOX LOCAL app available through Apple TV, Amazon FireTV, Roku, Google Android TV, and Vizio!

State Representative Christina Morales is "skeptical" of what she sees as a half measure aimed at addressing a multi-generational threat.

"This is like putting lipstick on a pig. We are dealing with cosmetics here. There are some major environmental issues here," said Morales.

The mitigation project is reportedly scheduled to begin next year and many in the neighborhood are already concerned the excavation will create clouds of toxic dust for months.

"These half-way remediations are only going to further contaminate our community," said Morales, who has been a vocal critic of the ongoing 800 Middle Street Affordable housing project, which is being constructed adjacent to the City's contaminated Velasco property.