The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed that Hurricane Harvey flooding created a leak in the San Jacinto waste pits. Barrels of waste from the old Pasadena paper plant were buried there.
The pits, along Interstate 10 between Channelview and Highlands in eastern Harris County, hold wastes including dioxin. Dioxin is a highly toxic chemical compound that can do serious harm to humans.
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The Harris County Attorney's Office has filed lawsuits over the waste pits.
The EPA confirmed samples from one of the 14 areas confirmed the protection cap had been damaged and the underlying waste material was exposed. The sample shows Dioxin above 70,000 nanograms. The EPA recommended cleanup level for the site is 30,000.
The EPA is directing the potentially responsible parties to take immediate action to address damage to the protective cap and high levels of waste material found at one of the samples on site.
Dioxin can also get into the food chain such as fish and despite warnings, people were fishing in the area Friday.
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