UNSETTLING

Report: Houston’s Toxic Waste Sites Are Flooded

As Houston begins clean-up efforts after catastrophic flooding, at least five of the city’s toxic waste sites have been found to be inundated with water, the Associated Press reports. The city has more than a dozen so-called Superfund sites, which the Environmental Protection Agency has classified as being among the country’s most highly contaminated places. While the EPA previously warned of the risk of floodwaters spreading hazardous materials, the agency has yet to inspect the flooded sites in Houston, according to the report. An EPA spokeswoman said two other Superfund sites in Corpus Christi were checked and found to have no significant damage. But residents have expressed alarm that unknown chemicals and contaminants could spread throughout the area. “If floodwaters have spread the chemicals in the waste pits, then dangerous chemicals like dioxin could be spread around the wider Houston area,” Kara Cook-Schultz, who studies toxic sites for the advocacy group TexPIRG, told the Associated Press. Cook-Schultz, describing the sites as “the most dangerous places in the country," said they "should have been properly protected against flooding.”