High levels of cancer-causing dioxin found near the San Jacinto Waste Pits in the wake of Hurricane Harvey have Harris County officials concerned about the safety of seafood caught in the area.
So on Tuesday, the County Commissioners Court approved an agreement for testing in a 5-mile radius of the Superfund site.
“Everything has changed since Harvey,” said David Walden, chief of staff for County Commissioner Jack Morman. “The caps failed at the waste pits, they’re leaking dioxin … It’s probably a good time to start testing things.”
In September, the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed that a concrete cap used to cover the pits since 2011 had sprung a leak during Harvey’s floods. Agency officials found dioxin in sediment near the pit at a level more than 2,000 times the EPA standard for clean-up.
Two weeks later, EPA officials announced they would permanently remove tons of toxics from the waste pits.
That process, however, will take years. In the meantime, county officials believe residents should know what they’re consuming.