- November 2016 Site Update from EPA
- October 20, 2016 EPA Proposed Plan for Cleanup Public Meeting Slides
- September 28, 2016 – EPA Press Release on Proposed Plan for Cleanup & Public Comment Period
The Galveston Bay Foundation wants you to be informed about the cleanup of the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site (SJRWP) and learn how you can have a voice in the process!
In 2011, GBF received a grant from the U.S. EPA to hire scientists from the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) to serve as the independent technical advisors and review site cleanup process reports, provide expert input, and communicate their findings to the public. These findings will be posted on this webpage and communicated to the public via e-mail, meetings, and print materials.
In the mid-1960s, the pits north of I-10 received wastes from the former Champion Paper mill located in Pasadena, Texas. The paper mill wastes contained dioxins, which are extremely toxic and can cause increased risk of cancer and other threats to human health such as liver damage and birth defects. The abandoned pits, like the rest of the surrounding area subsided (the sinking of land as the result of groundwater pumping) and the dioxin-laden wastes have been exposed to the waters and sediments of the San Jacinto River for decades. The pits are now partially submerged in the river and are often completely inundated by high river flows or high tide events.
The SJRWP was added to the National Priorities List of hazardous waste sites in 2008. As a result the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began overseeing the Superfund process cleanup of the pits, which is being performed by International Paper (IP) and McGinnis Industrial Maintenance Corporation (MIMC), the potentially responsible parties (PRPs) for the pollution at the site. Given the immediate threat to human and environmental health, EPA directed the PRPs to install a temporary armored cap on the pits north of I-10. The cap was completed in July 2011.
Two other critical exposure paths have been characterized at this site. Before the pits were temporarily capped, people recreating, fishing, or crabbing at the site could come into direct contact with the dioxins through dermal absorption (absorption of dioxin through the skin) as their bare skin came into contact with the wastes or through accidental ingestion of contaminated sediments, e.g. children on the site placing their hands contaminated with the waste into their mouths.
Given the chemical nature of dioxins, including its relative insolubility in water, and the characteristics of the SJRWP, people are not expected to be exposed to contaminants from airborne dust, groundwater, or surface water. For more information on the routes of exposure to SJRWP dioxins, see the Public Health Assessment – Final Version that was prepared by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
|Activity||Description||Start Date||Completion Date|
|Discovery the Site||Texas Parks and Wildlife Department became aware of information suggesting the presence of waste pits in and adjacent to the San Jacinto River and notified the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.||April 2005||n/a|
|Placement on National Priorities List||The U.S. EPA’s listing of the site on the NPL made it a “Superfund” site, eligible for further investigation and action.||March 2008||n/a|
|Time Critical Removal Action (TCRA)||A short-term stabilization/capping of the waste pits by the responsible parties. In this case, an armored cap was placed over the waste pits to temporarily address the release of dioxin into the San Jacinto River.||April 2010||July 2011|
|Remedial Investigation / Feasibility Study (RI/FS)||The process of data collection and analyses of the site problem, identification of cleanup alternatives, and the recommendation of a clean-up remedy (see links to these documents under Key Cleanup Documents and Our Technical Reviews/Summaries below).||December 2009||September 2016|
|EPA Proposed Plan for Cleanup Public Comment Period||On September 28, 2016, U.S. EPA announced their Proposed Plan for Cleanup (see link to this document under Key Cleanup Documents and Our Technical Reviews/Summaries below). The official public comment period began on September 29, 2016. The EPA has extended the public comment period until January 12, 2017. See the EPA press release near the top of this webpage for details on how you can submit comments.||September 29, 2016||January 12, 2017|
|EPA Record of Decision (ROD)||The U.S. EPA’s public document that explains which cleanup alternative(s) will be used at the site. The ROD is based on information and technical analysis generated during the RI/FS and consideration of public comments and community concerns.||January 13, 2017||Early 2017 (tentative)|
More information can be found on the U.S. EPA’s San Jacinto River Waste Pits webpage.
EPA September 2016 Proposed Plan for Clean Up of the Site – as this is already written for a public audience, HARC will not prepare a technical review of this document. However, if you have questions about the proposed plan you can contact Scott Jones of GBF at (281) 332-3381 x209 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Jennifer Ronk of HARC at (281) 363-7927 and email@example.com.
Technical Advisor’s Reviews of Key Documents Produced for the U.S. EPA Cleanup Process:
- HARC Technical Review of the February 2012 Preliminary Site Characterization Report Volume I and Volume II
- HARC Technical Review of the May 2012 Exposure Assessment Memorandum
- HARC Technical Review of the May 2012 Toxicological and Epidemiological Studies Memorandum
- HARC Technical Review of the May 2012 Time Critical Removal Action Completion Report (Note: Appendix N – Operations, Monitoring, and Maintenance Plan is available here. Additional appendices are available upon request by contacting Scott Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 281-332-3381 x209.)
- HARC Technical Review of the October 2012 Public Health Assessment
- HARC Technical Review of the December 2012 Remedial Alternatives Memorandum
- HARC Technical Review of the May 2013 Baseline Ecological Assessment Report/Appendices
- HARC Technical Review of the May 2013 Baseline Human Health Risk Assesment, Volume I and Volume II
- HARC Technical Review of the May 2013 Remedial Investigation Report, Volume I and Volume II
- HARC Technical Review of the August 2016 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Evaluation of the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Feasibility Study Remediation Alternatives
- HARC Technical Review of the EPA September 2016 Final Interim Feasibility Study Report
- HARC Technical Review of the Responsible Parties’ 2016 Data Summary Report (provided by EPA to GBF on Nov. 15, 2016)
- May 25, 2016 EPA Community Open House/Meeting Slides
- February 17, 2016 EPA Community Meeting – Frequently Asked Questions
- February 17, 2016 EPA Community Meeting Slides
- December 2015 Armored Cap Deficiency Response and Results:
- Groundwater Sample Locations and Results from the Remedial Investigation (see full RI under Independent Review Findings below)
- EPA Fact Sheet – January 2016
- EPA’s Presentation Slides from April 30, 2015 Open House (PDF, 7MB)
Frequently Asked Questions*
*Answers provided by Houston Advanced Research Center and Galveston Bay Foundation.
For more information on the SJRWP and its cleanup, please contact:
- HARC Technical Advisor: Jennifer Ronk at (281) 363-7927 and email@example.com.
- EPA SJRWP Project Manager: Gary Miller at (214) 665-8318 and Miller.Garyg@epa.gov.
- EPA Community Involvement Coordinator: Donn Walters at (214) 665-6483 and Walters.Donn@epa.gov.
- Texas Department of State Health Services (for information on the Public Health Assessment): Richard Beauchamp at (512) 776-6434 and Richard.Beauchamp@dshs.state.tx.us.
- Texas Department of State Health Services (for information seafood advisories and shellfish harvest areas): Michael Tennant at (512) 834-6757 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Texas Department of State Health Services (for information on the Public Health Assessment and seafood advisories): Tina Walker at (512) 776-2932 and email@example.com.
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Superfund Program: Satya Dwivedula at (512) 239-3548 and Satya.Dwivedula@tceq.texas.gov.
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Superfund Community Relations: Crystal Taylor at (512) 239-3844 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (for information on sediment dioxin concentrations in the bay system and other potential sources): Linda Broach at (713) 767-3579 and Linda.Broach@tceq.texas.gov
- Houston-Galveston Area Council (for information on the Total Maximum Daily Load projects): Steven Johnston at (832) 681-2579 and email@example.com.
For more information about the Technical Assistance Grant itself, contact Scott Jones of the Galveston Bay Foundation at (281) 332-3381 x209 or firstname.lastname@example.org.