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News Releases

News Releases from HeadquartersOffice of the Administrator (AO)

HOUSTON AREA SUPERFUND SITES OPENED TO NEWS OUTLETS TODAY; TCEQ/EPA UPDATED LOCAL, NATIONAL LEADERS ON HEALTH, ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF HARVEY

09/04/2017
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DALLAS -- ABC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, & Bloomberg news crews joined TCEQ and EPA technical staff on site at Superfund sites around Houston today.  The TV crews, following all health and safety requirements of site managers, shadowed the work of TCEQ and EPA technical experts on the ground at three Superfund sites: U.S. Oil Recovery, Highlands Acid Pits and the San Jacinto Waste Pits. 

Crews were able to take videos, photographs and talk directly with technical staff and subject matter experts on the ground.  Boats were on the water determining impacts at the temporary armored cap in the San Jacinto River, to provide access to the crews.

"The TCEQ is working closely with the EPA and local officials to assess the status of Superfund sites in the affected area. We will continue this as sites are safely accessible," said TCEQ Chairman Bryan Shaw.

“We are working directly with those responsible for the on-going cleanup of Superfund sites to ensure that we have the most up-to-date information about health and environmental risks to the community from the effects of hurricane Harvey, especially at Superfund sites affected by the storm,” said EPA Region 6 Acting Regional Administrator Sam Coleman."

In addition to taking news crews on site today, EPA Acting Regional Administrator Sam Coleman and TCEQ Chairman Bryan Shaw provided an update of their joint efforts to assess the health and environmental impacts of Hurricane Harvey to a local, state and federal officials.  The discussion with local officials included: Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Executive Director of the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) Russ Poppe, Harris County Engineer and Director of Public Infrastructure John Blount and Dr. Umair Shah from the Harris County Public Health Department.

National participants included: officials and experts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Together, they provided updates to and answered questions from U.S. Senator John Cornyn, U.S. House of Representative Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, U.S. Congressman Randy Weber and other government officials at the Harris County Emergency Operations Center in Houston.

Additionally, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and the city's leaders were briefed by EPA and TCEQ senior leadership on multiple issues, including the status of the Superfund sites in and around the Houston area.

As of Sunday, September 3rd, EPA staff was imbedded in Mayor Turner’s office to provide continued communication among local, state and federal officials.  EPA and TCEQ remain in constant communication with Governor Abbott’s office.

In addition, TCEQ and EPA toxicologists and technical experts are on the ground and in the air collecting real-time air monitoring and water quality data.  That information is being analyzed by experts now and will be provided to the public as soon as it is available.  We encourage the community to continue to follow the expert safety advice of local officials.