Residents urge City Council to Action

Back in September, I wrote an article about the cleanup of an abandoned waste treatment site in the Old Spanish Trail/South Union community. Due to the sheer magnitude of the cleanup required, the responsibility has shifted from the city, to the state (TCEQ), to the EPA.

To date, 2.5 million in federal and state funding has been set aside for the cleanup. However, because of the gross negligence of the site’s owner and the length of time the waste has been on site, it’s difficult to know the exact extent of contamination. Much, if not all, of the 2.5 million dollars will only cover the physical waste on site.

The ground contamination of the property and neighboring homes seem to be the elephant in the room being ignored. Since beginning the cleanup, the list of toxics the EPA has found has consistently grown. This week, residents, city council members, organizers, and environmental activists gathered at a home adjacent to the property to persuade the city to become more engaged in the effort. Many of them made formal comments to city council during a special hearing on the matter.