At least 13 "Superfund" toxic waste sites in Houston have been flooded or otherwise damaged by Hurricane Harvey, adding a new element of risk to clean-up efforts. Superfund sites are designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); they are "the nation's most contaminated land."
Since Harvey flooding occurred, the EPA has made aerial assessments of 41 Superfund locations in and around Houston and identified 13 in bad shape. "Teams are in place to investigate possible damage to these sites as soon as flood waters recede, and personnel are able to safely access the sites," the EPA said in a response to an Associated Press inquiry as to why in-person investigations have not already been made. AP reporters already visited seven sites.
It will take about two weeks for waters to fully recede at these locations, which are contaminated with industrial waste, pesticides, and more. "My daddy talks about having bird dogs down there to run and the acid would eat the pads off their feet," said Houston native Dwight Chandler of the toxic sites. "We didn't know any better."