Activists and residents fear flood released Dioxin from Superfund site
HIGHLANDS, Texas (FOX 26) - A raging river first hammered and then enveloped a toxic dump containing 17,000 truckloads of Dioxin waste. Drone video of the Superfund site confirms extensive damage to exposed areas of the so called "protective cap."
"What we don't see really worries us," said Scott Jones of the Galveston Bay Foundation.
Activist Jackie Young leads the Texas Health and Environment Alliance and fears the sheer force of massive floodwaters swept cancer causing Dioxin out of the dump and into the river which feeds directly into Galveston Bay.
"That is one of the areas along the river that has the highest flow rates. Higher velocity equals higher erosive force. This is no place for toxic waste," said Young.
It's estimated the Dioxin waste contained in the dump will remain toxic to human life for at least seven centuries, sparking an urgent plea from the Galveston Bay Foundation for expedited removal in a matter of months, rather than the years currently proposed by the EPA.
"How many more storms are we going to have in 750 years? How many more storms are we going to have this year or next year?" asked Jones.
Residents nearby have long blamed the dump for alarmingly high rates of rare cancer and fear these latest devastating floodwaters have again doused their water-logged homes with escaped Dioxins.
"It looks like a war zone. Houses have been swallowed up by sink holes, cars by sink holes, whole houses gone," said Jennifer Harpster, who blames the dump for her 7-year-old granddaughter's death from a rare cancer.
"People are going to die from this storm. They won't die right away. They'll die 10 years down the road," said Pam Bonta, a former Highlands resident whose husband is battling cancer.
Both the EPA and the companies responsible for the toxic waste claim there's currently no evidence additional Dioxin escaped from the Superfund site.
They do concede two thirds of the site remains underwater.