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San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site

Community Meeting

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in cooperation with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Federal, State and Harris County agencies, local officials and industry, invite you to attend the Community Meeting for the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site.  During the meeting an update will be provided on current site activities and the cap inspection data.The meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Highlands Community Center, 604 Highland Woods Drive, Highlands, Texas 77562.
Site Update

On May 7, 2019, EPA, in cooperation with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Federal, State and Harris County agencies, local officials held a community meeting for the San Jacinto site at the Highlands Community Center in Highlands, Texas. During the meeting, EPA provided an update on current site activities and the updated Community Involvement Plan.

On Friday, July 6, 2018, EPA received a draft work plan from the potentially responsible parties to perform cap testing and maintenance in the northwest portion of the cap. The work plan addressed 22 “Areas of Interest” identified by the EPA Dive Team during an underwater inspection in June 2018. EPA originally approved the work plan for testing, which was performed on July 9-10, 2018.

The testing determined the strength of the cap where performed maintenance in the northwest area tested the cap and underlying materials for sufficient strength to support the land-based equipment needed to perform the repairs. The test results indicated that the strength is sufficient for the equipment.  Based on this test, EPA approved the remainder of the work plan on July 12, 2018, for the repairs. EPA is scheduled to oversee work beginning Monday, July 16, and will require two weeks to complete, weather permitting. 

The work plan includes the placement of geotextile and geogrid in most of the areas to be repaired. These materials will be used in the shallow area that is adjacent to the northwest shore, to a maximum depth of about four feet. There are several depressions in the shelf area, and a four to six-inch thick layer of sand will be placed into each depression as a bedding layer. The sand bedding layer will help to distribute loads from subsequent geotextile and armor stone that will be placed over the depressions. The geotextile and geogrid will be covered by three-inch to five-inch sized recycled concrete to a minimum thickness of one foot. There are four other small areas in deeper water that will be repaired via boat without fabric.

Current Status

This agreement marks the next step in my commitment to the people of Harris County to expedite the remediation of the San Jacinto Waste Pits site. EPA will ensure that the Remedial Design removes all the contamination as quickly and safely as possible and permanently protects the health and safety of the surrounding communities and the San Jacinto River. Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

An agreement has been reached with the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) for the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site to perform a Remedial Design for the site’s selected remedy. The selected cleanup action addresses the highly toxic dioxin contamination at the site in Harris County, Texas. The agreement is a result of expedited negotiations between EPA and PRPs for design of the cleanup. The Remedial Design is estimated to take about 29 months to complete to ensure waste is safely and properly contained during construction and removal. The design work will be performed by the PRPs under the oversight of EPA and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The current quarterly cap inspection and maintenance program will continue while the Remedial Design is being completed. While the Remedial Design is ongoing, the U.S. Department of Justice and EPA will begin negotiations with the PRPs to enter into a Consent Decree regarding construction of the remedy.

Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent for Remedial Design Document

Press Release

San Jacinto Waste Pits areaEPA Cleanup Plan

 On October 11, the cleanup plan to address highly toxic dioxin contamination at the San Jacinto Waste Pits Superfund site in Harris County, Texas was approved. The selected remedy will protect human health and the environment by removing highly contaminated material from the site and securing less contaminated areas. The plan provides certainty to people living near the site by permanently addressing risk posed by the contamination. It also provides certainty to other economic interests including the businesses that rely on the San Jacinto River for navigation and the Interstate-10 transportation corridor. EPA’s cleanup plan includes installing engineering controls such as cofferdams before excavating almost 212,000 cubic yards of dioxin contaminated material for disposal. A small amount of material will stay on the site where controls will prevent access, eliminate off-site migration and monitor the natural recovery into the future. The estimated cost for the remedy is $115 million and is cost-effective; representing a reasonable value for the cost incurred. EPA’s final cleanup plan, called a Record of Decision, addresses comments on the proposed plan concerning the risk of water spreading dioxin contamination downstream by installing controls such as cofferdams to allow for dry excavation of the waste material. Changes in the construction method will effectively eliminate any potential for spreading contamination to downstream areas. The $97 million proposed plan outlined wet excavation of material. EPA’s decision, fully explained in the Record of Decision, is based on extensive studies of the contamination, human health risks, and environmental risks of this site. The final cleanup plan considers the ever-changing San Jacinto River, which encroaches on the site, and protecting important downstream resources including the Galveston Bay estuary. EPA’s selected remedy will permanently address the highly toxic dioxin waste materials, meets the federal regulatory requirements of the National Contingency Plan for cleanup of hazardous sites, and is protective of public health and the environment. EPA will release an Administrative Record, which consists of all documents used to support its selected remedy.  

The Record of Decision (10/11/2017,  15.8 MB, 457 pages) is available. The Administrative Record for the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site is also available. Copies of the Administrative Record including the Record of Decision will also be at the following locations:  

Stratford Branch Library
509 Stratford Street
Highlands, Texas, 77562

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 6
1445 Ross Avenue
Dallas, TX 75202

(214) 665-6427

National Priorities Listing (NPL) History

Proposal Date: 9/17/2007
Final Listing Date: 3/19/2008

Community Engagement

More information about the site:

For more information, contact EPA Community Involvement at 1-800-533-3508 (toll-free).

Aerial view of San Jacinto cap.Aerial view of San Jacinto cap.

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