Thank you to all who attended the San Jacinto Community Coalition community meeting this week! If you missed the meeting, you can keep reading for a brief summary below, view the recording to the left, or view the recording on our Youtube channel here!

The good news – construction at the Southern Pit is supposed to commence this fall. To confirm the areas to be excavated, over 200 borings were drilled into the Southern Waste Pit in the past couple of months.

During this meeting, we focused primarily on the Northern Pit’s 90% Remedial Design documents that were recently released from the responsible parties’ consultants to the EPA for review. These documents are meant to provide information on waste removal logistics such as health and safety protocols, emergency response preparedness, monitoring, and transportation/off-site disposal.

The responsible parties’ consultants are the ones who develop the remedial plans, but the EPA is ultimately in charge of the remedial process and has the authority to require higher standards of safety and efficacy at every step.

Our job at THEA is to review these remedial design plans in search of flaws, oversights, and areas where entities may be trying to cut corners. We will then bring these concerns to the EPA’s attention and let the agency know that we are expecting them to address these items and hold the responsible parties to a high standard of safety and efficacy throughout remediation.

The main takeaway from the 90% Remedial Design documents is that much of the plan remains incomplete or inconsistent. Vague language and missing information leave room for important safety details to slip through the cracks, and we do not want that to happen.

Here are a few examples of the types of inconsistencies we found in the documents:

  • The documents featured several tables that were meant to illustrate important details (such as a list of emergency contacts), but they were left incomplete or not included at all 
  • Words such as “may,” “should,” and “recommended” are used while outlining safety standards, essentially leaving it up to the discretion of the responsible parties’ contractors whether they want to comply with these standards. Compliance with safety standards cannot be optional, so this vague language must be replaced with words such as “must,” “will,” and “required.”
  • No safety data sheets were included to inform workers of the protocols and risks associated with working with the dioxin-contaminated waste.

Construction cannot commence until these documents are complete, but it’s imperative they are done well to set the level of safety in which the remedial process will be conducted. 

Our next step at THEA is to present the above concerns, among others, to the EPA so we can be sure they will be addressed in the final draft of the Remedial Design Plan. Stay tuned for possible petitions/sign-on letters so that we can let the EPA know that the community is paying attention and expects a high standard of care through the waste removal process.