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Houston Ship Channel dredging project brings fears of possible chemical contamination

Posted on June 12, 2024

GALENA PARK, Texas (KTRK) — A plan to widen and deepen the Houston Ship Channel is getting pushback as the next phase of the project unfolds. Dirt being dredged from the channel is set to be deposited in nearby disposal facilities, and community members who live in those areas worry the waste will bring harmful chemicals with it.

The Healthy Port Communities Coalition addressed community concerns on Tuesday morning.

The worry is that the mud and dirt being dredged up contains chemicals from nearby plants and that flooding and rain events may cause the disposal facilities to leak. Those chemicals could then end up in neighborhoods where people live.

The group says by analyzing test reports from the Army Corps of Engineers, they’ve determined arsenic and other chemicals were found at unsafe levels. The group says if the contaminated soil is dumped at designated sites in nearby communities and a flood or heavy rain event occurs, the arsenic could then wash into neighborhoods and homes. The group is asking for updated safeguards to be put in place to account for updated flood maps and storm outlooks.

We’re told the next phase of Project 11 impacts mostly minority communities. Activists say they don’t ask for special treatment, just fair treatment, such as the promise to use clean dredging vessels to reduce the impact of air quality.


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