Residents worry about water safety in neighborhood

February 20, 2013 5:04:52 PM PST
A community is demanding answers about water safety in their northeast Houston neighborhood after toxic chemicals were dumped there years ago.

Contractors for the Environmental Protection Agency were in the area Wednesday testing one of two toxic waste sites. Known as the North Cavalcade and South Cavalcade Superfund sites, they total more than 100 acres. No signs mark the contaminated acreage, and that's why residents of the Ryon community just a block away were surprised.

"And some of the toxins that have been used and have been dumped cause cancer, so we have a big concern," said resident Monique Howard.

Several decades ago, the now-concrete parking lots undergoing testing were lumber treatment facilities. The toxic chemicals used were dumped into ponds on site. Residents worry contamination might have also tainted ground water under their homes.

"You think about toxic waste being thrown into the ground that length of time. So you tell me how far it went. You tell me where it's at," Howard said.

We contacted the EPA and were told both sites are contained and the risk to exposure is limited to the sites themselves. Regarding the North Cavalcade site, the EPA says, "Although drinking water is provided by the city of Houston, further institutional controls will be placed to ensure that impacted ground water is not used in the future. The final remedial actions for the site are considered complete."

And as for the South Cavalcade site the EPA says, "Once the remedial alternative is selected and implemented the ground water remedy will continue to be protective in the future."

Ryon community residents say they've been left in the dark and need more information about living next to two toxic sites.

"We want them to come and give us some factual information and tell us is this dangerous to us. We want them to tell us what's really, really going on," said Howard.

The contaminated sites were owned by Leon Aron of Houston Creosoting Company, Inc. The bank foreclosed on his property in 1961.

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