Contractors for the potentially responsible parties have started phase 2 fieldwork out at the San Jacinto River Waste Pits, which is expected to take about eight to 10 weeks. 

Remedial Project Manager Gary Baumgarten said that contractors started mobilizing equipment to conduct pre-design investigation fieldwork. The work itself will begin in the coming. 

This activity at the waste pits will also be an item of discussion at the next San Jacinto River Coalition meeting Tuesday, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Highlands Community Center, 604 Highland Woods Dr.

“We’re going to talk about what we know and what we need to know about what they’re doing out there,” Jacquelyn Young, director of Texas Health and Environment Alliance, said. “We know they’re preparing to do the second phase pre-design investigative work, but the EPA has not publicly released the plan. At this time we don’t know what that entails, however, the EPA said it would release them on Tuesday.” 

Since April 2018, the EPA has been working on the pre-design for the waste pits — a set of impoundments located at the intersection of Interstate 10 bridge and the San Jacinto River that contain high concentrations of dioxin. 

The remedial plan aims to remove 212,000 cubic yards of toxic material from the site. 

After the two parties finish the second phase of the pre-design investigation, they will work on the remedial design for the southern and northern impoundments and will take 299 days and 275 days to complete respectively. 

“It’s important that we all remain engaged until the site is removed from the river,” Young. “I encourage to involve themselves in some of the upcoming opportunities. Whether it’s the coalition meeting or the upcoming EPA meeting (Sept. 24).” 

In addition to a site update, the coalition will also discuss a recent dredging permit filed with the Army Corps of Engineers. 

“It’s actually a large dredging project — over 120 acres — just south of the waste pits in Old River,” Young said. “So that’s something we will discuss at the meeting and will be something we ask the public to weigh in on.” 

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