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EPA finds Harvey damage at Houston Superfund site

WASHINGTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency says an unknown amount of a dangerous chemical linked to birth defects and cancer may have washed downriver from a Houston-area Superfund site during the flooding from Hurricane Harvey

EPA announced Thursday night it has ordered the companies responsible for the San Jacinto River Waste Pits site to take immediate action to address damage to a protective cap of fabric and rock intended to keep sediments highly contaminated with dioxins from spreading.

International Paper and McGinnis Industrial Maintenance Corp. have made initial repairs to the section where the protective rock was missing.

The EPA said a sample collected by an agency dive team from the exposed area showed dioxins levels at 70,000 nanograms per kilogram — more than 2,300 times the level set to trigger a cleanup. 

Did oil refinery, chemical plant push Harvey waters into communities?

More than a week after Harvey raked across southeast Texas, drone footage showed floodwaters still surrounding the San Jacinto Superfund site. Of the 41 Superfund sites -- places storing sulfuric acid, heavy metals and waste oils -- that were in the storm's path, 13 were flooded. 

Harvey made landfall on Aug. 25, according to the National Weather Service. 

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