New report shows conditions at local dump site could lead to increased risk of cancer

By Bill Spencer - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - Local 2 Investigates has learned a new environmental report, released Tuesday, shows conditions at a dump site near downtown could lead to an increased risk of cancer for those living nearby. It's a big change from what neighbors in the Ryon community were told just six months ago.

In February, the Environmental Protection Agency told Local 2 Investigates there were no neighborhood health dangers from the contaminated Superfund site.  But the EPA will tell residents a different story at a community meeting on Tuesday night. The new report shows the danger has spread beyond the dump site.

Monique Howard lives in the Ryon community and says she call you almost everything about it, except for the contaminated dumping ground she didn't know was there.

"The actual dump site is two blocks from where I live. I had no idea," she said.

Neighbors always knew this large industrial site was here. It's easy to see.  They didn't know that when a wood treatment plant operated here, the EPA says contaminants like arsenic and benzene from the plant leaked into the soil and ground water.  The government labeled the area the "South Cavalcade Superfund Site" and ordered it to be cleaned up in the 1980's.

This new EPA report found testing done this summer shows contamination has spread beyond the site, traveling in the water underground toward the nearby neighborhood.

Even more troubling, the EPA says the potential excess lifetime cancer risk for future residents is now "above acceptable risk values." The EPA report also says there's a increased chance for what it calls "non-cancer" risks, too. That means new cleanup must be done.

The EPA says right now, neighbors are not being exposed because their city drinking water comes from miles away. However, the EPA says the future health risk is increased because of the possibility that residents could eventually get drinking water from the contaminated ground.

Neighbors will be showing up at Jeff Davis High School to learn more from the EPA at a 6:30pm meeting. Local 2 Investigator Bill Spencer will have an update tonight on Local 2 News at 10.

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