Houston Chronicle: San Jacinto Waste Pits Watchdogs

Waste pit watchdogs: Residents near San Jacinto Superfund site maintain constant vigilance

Emily Foxhall 

Houston Chronicle, Feb. 8, 2019 

Four days before Christmas, Beach City’s new mayor learned something worrisome: A company was seeking a permit to dredge near hazardous waste pits in the San Jacinto River. The firm wanted to dump the potentially toxic sludge 15 miles away on a neighborhood lot next to the only park in Beach City, which stretches along the coastline south of Mont Belvieu and Baytown.

Mayor Jackey Lasater heard about it not from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which received the application, but because of an advocacy group, which in turn was tipped off by a Channelview resident the Corps notified by mail. At the time, Lasater was on his way to Arkansas to visit his father, who fell and had hip surgery. But the 15-day public comment period for the project was halfway over. The mayor and others got to work.

This was their reality. With clean-up of the waste pits planned but not yet started, local politicians, nonprofits and residents still vigilantly watch what takes place around the river’s Superfund site, a scary sounding name for a spot, visible from Interstate 10, where waste from a paper mill was dumped decades ago and is today unsafe. Pollutants like that are not a concern in Beach City, where residents rely on water from wells.

More at the Houston Chronicle.