HOUSTON (FOX 26), Greg Groogan
17,000 heavy truck loads of cancer-causing Dioxin waste. That's what is contained within the partially-submerged Superfund site known as the San Jacinto River waste pits.
As the Environmental Protection Agency finalizes it's decision regarding the dump's future, new and influential voices are demanding a complete removal and clean-up.
"It is absolutely common sense that we do not leave this site where it is because it is such an unstable environment," said U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, who joined with fellow Congressman Randy Weber in a letter to the EPA strongly urging the Dioxin waste be dug out of the pits and hauled away.
"We can't allow something like this to keep festering again," said Rep. Babin. "The hundred-year cap that was put on this thing is now leaking like a sieve after just five years."
Rep. Babin represents constituents in Highlands and Baytown, many of whom fear their soil and water have been contaminated by runoff and leaks from the pits.
"I just think it is a no-brainer that we will never be able to secure that site until it's taken out completely," added Babin. He also said he is compelled by a warning from the Galveston Bay Foundation that a serious breach of the Superfund site could contaminate sea life in the bay for centuries.
"It is something that has to be addressed and I think if we don't, we are going to be playing with fire," said Rep. Babin, a Republican from Beaumont. "We don't want to leave something like this as a legacy to our kids and our grandkids."
The EPA decision has been postponed until late summer. If the agency decides on a dig-and-haul solution, the so-called "responsible parties," Waste Management and International Paper, will be ordered to pay the nine-figure cost.