Young

In preparation for Tropical Storm Imelda, contractors secured the north impoundment of the San Jacinto River Waste Pits and have crews on standby for post-storm inspections.  

Before the storm hit the area, contractors for the potentially responsible parties — International Paper and McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corporation — were in the midst of phase 2 pre-investigation work that required partially opening the western cell of the northern impoundment for limited excavation. 

Jennah Durant, EPA spokeswoman, said contractors were scheduled to weld the high-density polyethylene resin liner patch but were unable to do the work due to the rain. 

To secure the site for the storm, the excavation was filled, the liner patch was placed over the area that was excavated, the patch was taped to the existing liner using 4-inch PVC tape made from the liner, sandbags were placed on top and a berm was constructed around the area of excavation. 

“Contractors for the potentially responsible parties have put crews on standby to conduct any post-storm inspections and/or maintenance if needed,” Durant said. “River levels and flows are being monitored through the event.”

Furthermore, Durant said the contractor for the potentially responsible parties plans on performing a visual inspection of the armored cap after the water levels drop. The EPA will also be on-site Tuesday to oversee ongoing remedial design fieldwork and will inspect the site as well. 

“I feel confident with the agency’s response on the site,” Jacquelyn Young, executive director of Texas Health and Environment Alliance, said. “They’re giving the site a lot of attention from the headquarters to the region, and I’m confident that if we have any concerns about a potential disruption at the site with this storm that they would readily respond.” 

In the event of community concerns, Young asks residents to contact her organization or the EPA.      

“They’re watching the site closely, but it’s important for the community to remember that our project manager lives in and works in the Dallas area — the EPA isn’t here — and our community members are the eyes and ears on the ground,” she said. “In the event of any concerns from the community, I imagine (the EPA) would be willing to cooperate with any requests or concerns for further inspection.” 

The EPA will host a community meeting from 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday at the Highlands Community Center, 604 Highland Woods Dr. 

During the meeting, updates will be provided on current site activities and the cap inspection data. 

Following the updates, a question and answer session will be open to the public. 

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