Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: July 10, 2015


  1. Harris County Public Health Actually Tests Groundwater Wells Near the San Jacinto River Waste Pits and Finds Dioxin (Dianna Wray – Houston Press, 7/8/2016)
    “Harris County Public Heath recently warned people living near the San Jacinto River Waste Pit Superfund site to avoid drinking tap water after dioxin, a known carcinogen, was detected in groundwater wells near the Channelview site. Along the way, the county became the first government agency to actually test the area groundwater wells for dioxins. The moment was a small victory for Jackie Young, the head of San Jacinto River Coalition, and a former resident of Highlands, the town where most of the contaminated wells are located. The San Jacinto River Waste Pits have been nestled on the edge of the San Jacinto River for decades, a forgotten remnant of the toxic sludge pumped out of a Pasadena paper mill that was packed into barges, shipped downriver and stored in pits dug on the lip of the river throughout the 1960s. In 2005 state officials discovered – or maybe just finally noticed – the pits.”
  2. Tax Day Floodwaters Finally Drain From Houston’s Big Reservoirs (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media, 7/6/2016)
    “Back in April when a foot and a half of rain fell west of Houston, it nearly filled up both the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs that lie along the Katy Freeway at Highway 6. Since then, millions of gallons have slowly been released through dam gates into Buffalo Bayou… The dams were built in the 1940s and have been deemed ‘extremely high risk’ because of their age and the potential for billions of dollars in damage to Houston should they fail. A $75 million renovation was just getting started when the Tax Day flood hit. Construction stopped and it was only Tuesday that crews could access the site and resume their work.”
  3. Houston Is Sinking (Steve Jansen – Houston Press, 7/5/2016)
    “Subsidence, the slow-on-the-go caving of a land area, isn’t a new or even unnatural phenomenon in the Houston area. It’s how humans accelerate this sinking that’s not all that normal or awesome. In the 1980s, Brownwood, the Houston Ship Channel-area subdivision that once housed Humble Oil (now Exxon) bigwigs, basically caved in on itself. That’s because oil workers and municipal companies had pumped out groundwater, which was used for oil and gas production and for residential purposes, at an insanely fast rate for decades. The Chicot and Evangeline aquifers along the Texas Gulf Coast weren’t able to naturally replenish the groundwater supply. Loose groundwater regulations at the time certainly didn’t help, and the eventual switch to surface water was too late because the damage had been done — according to United States Geological Survey data, approximately 4,700 square miles of land in and near Baytown and Pasadena sank by at least six feet between the years 1943 and 1973.”


  • 10 July
    • Saharan dust will reach Southeast Texas early this week (ABC13 News)
  • 8 July
    • Harris County Public Health Actually Tests Groundwater Wells Near the San Jacinto River Waste Pits and Finds Dioxin (Dianna Wray – Houston Press)
    • Robots Are Coming to Agriculture. Will They Make Big Ag More Sustainable? (Environmental Leader)
    • Long Island forecast: Hot, humid, chance of showers (Newsday)
    • Texas Regulator: Let’s Make Electricity Shopping Easier (Jim Malewitz – The Texas Tribune)
    • BBB on homes: Air duct cleaning tips prove helpful (Leah Napoliello – Houston Chronicle)
    • Stunning Texas flood oil spill images back online after privacy concerns (Petro Global News)
    • Remarks by Zhang Guobao, former admisnistrator, Chinese National Energy Administration (Center on Global Energy Policy)
  • 7 July
    • High Hopes But Few Details for Waterfront Redevelopment in East End (Leah Binkovitz – The Urban Edge)
    • Dripping Springs homeowners push against treated wastewater in creek (Lauren Lanmon – KXAN)
    • EPA urges states to publish individual lead water samples (The Brownsville Herald)
    • Fate of Keystone XL Pipeline Could Be Decided in a Texas Courtroom Before NAFTA Tribunal (Julie Dermansky – Truthout)
    • North Dakota, Texas Regulators Tell Congress EPA Burdening Energy Industry (NGI’s Shale Daily)
    • Whitfield Examines Major EPA Rules Affecting the Energy, Industrial Sectors (Surfky News)
    • Historic El Camino Real To Get Fresh Look with New State Funding (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
  • 6 July
    • Tax Day Floodwaters Finally Drain From Houston’s Big Reservoirs (Dave Fehling – Houston Public Media)
  • 5 July
  • 2 July
    • Some Greenspoint-area flood victims face a crippling choice (Rebecca Elliott – Houston Chronicle)
  • 1 July
    • Texas Game Wardens and Menard County Sheriff Find Large-Scale Illegal Marijuana Operation (Texas Parks & Wildlife)
    • Scientists to Congress (politely, in so many words): Get real on climate change (Bill Dawson – Texas Climate News)
  • 30 June
    • Galveston Health Officials Say Water Is Safe (Eileen Pace – Texas Public Radio)
  • 29 June
  • 20 June