From: Yale Environment 360
Published August 30, 2017 05:01 PM

Scientists Warn of Toxins in Texas Floodwaters from Superfund Sites

Houston has been a hub of the petroleum and chemical industries for decades, leaving behind a landscape pocked with Superfund sites and other highly contaminated areas. Now, scientists are warning that these sites are likely leaking toxins into Tropical Storm Harvey’s floodwaters, exposing people in Harris County, where 30 percent of the land is now submerged, to dangerous contaminants, The Washington Post reported.

The toxic sites include the Brio Refining Superfund site in south Houston, the San Jacinto River Waste Pits, and the Crystal Chemical Co. site, among others. They contain toxins such as perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene, and chlorinated hydrocarbons that are dangerous to inhale or touch.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality told The Washington Post that employees had taken steps to secure contaminated sites prior to the storm, such as removing drums with chemicals and shutting down cleanup systems. It also said the commission and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will inspect the areas once floodwaters recede.

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