Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017|12:30 p.m.
WASHINGTON– The Environmental Protection Agency says it has recuperated 517 containers of “unknown, potentially harmful product” from highly polluted poisonous waste sites in Texas that flooded last month during Hurricane Harvey.
The firm has not provided details about which Superfund sites the product originated from, why the contaminants at concern have not been identified and whether there’s a threat to human health.
The one-sentence disclosure about the 517 containers was made Friday night deep within a media release from the Federal Emergency Management Agency summarizing the federal government’s response to the terrible storm.
At least seven Superfund sites around Houston were flooded in the days after Harvey’s record-shattering rains stopped. Associated Press journalists surveyed the flooded sites by boat, car and on foot. The EPA stated at the time that its workers had been not able to reach the websites, though they surveyed the places utilizing aerial photos.
The United States federal government likewise received reports of three spills at the United States Oil Recovery Superfund website, a previous petroleum waste processing plant outside Houston infected with an unsafe brew of cancer-causing chemicals.
Records acquired by the AP from the United States Coast Guard revealed employees at the website called a federal hotline to report spills of unknown materials in unknown quantities. Local contamination control officials photographed 3 large tanks used to save possibly contaminated materials completely underwater on Aug. 29. The EPA later stated there was no proof that close-by Vince Bayou had been affected.
PRP Group, the company formed to tidy up the U.S. Oil Recovery website, said it does unknown what does it cost? product leaked from the tanks, soaking into the soil or flowing into the bayou. As part of the post-storm cleanup, employees have actually vacuumed up 63 truckloads of potentially infected storm water, totaling about 315,000 gallons.
It was not immediately clear whether those truckloads represented any of the 517 containers cited in the FEMA media release on Friday. The EPA has not reacted to questions from AP about activities at U.S. Oil Recovery for more than a week.
About a lots miles east, the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site is on and around a low-lying island that was the website of a paper mill in the 1960s, leaving unsafe levels of dioxins and other lasting toxic substances linked to abnormality and cancer. The website was totally covered with floodwaters when the AP surveyed it on Sept. 1.
To avoid contaminated soil and sediments from being washed down river, about 16 acres of the site was covered in 2011 with an “armored cap” of material and rock. The cap was apparently developed to last for approximately 100 years, but it has required substantial repairs on at least 6 events in the last few years, with large areas ending up being displaced or having been gotten rid of.
The EPA has not reacted to duplicated inquiries over the past two weeks about whether its evaluation has identified whether the cap was similarly damaged throughout Harvey.
The business responsible for cleaning up the website, Waste Management Inc. and International Paper, have actually said there were “a small number of areas where the current layer of armored cap is thinner than required.”
“There was no proof of a release from any of these locations,” the business said, including that sediments there were tested recently.
The EPA has actually not yet launched those test results to the general public.