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Here's what you need to know about progress being made at San Jacinto Waste Pits

HOUSTON – The San Jacinto Waste Pits are along the portion of the San Jacinto River at I-10 near Channelview.

They are filled with dioxin, a toxic chemical. In this case, it’s what’s left of the waste from a 1960’s era paper mill. For years, environmental groups, The Harris County Attorney’s Office and residents have fought to get the area cleaned up. 

Concerns about the potential for widespread contamination after Hurricane Harvey 

Two years ago, dioxins began showing up in sediment samples around the base of the San Jacinto Waste Pits after Hurricane Harvey swamped our area. The Environmental Protection Agency determined the caps containing the chemicals were damaged. 

What did the EPA do?

In October 2017, shortly after the EPA ordered the companies responsible for the site to stabilize the caps to prevent more leaks, the agency announced a plan to permanently remove more than 200,000 cubic yards of contaminated material from the beds and banks of the San Jacinto River at a cost of $115 million.

What's happening now?

Since then, the Harris County Attorney’s Office says the project has moved through the first remedial design phase and into the engineering phase, which will focus on how to safely remove, treat and dispose of the toxic sludge.

What's next?

As the engineering phase of the project gets underway, The Harris County Attorney’s Office tells KPRC 2, it looks like it could be two years before crews start removing the contaminated material from the site.