Harvey Knocked out Dozens of Texas Water, Sewer Systems

DALLAS (AP) — State and federal environmental agencies report Harvey knocked out five drinking-water systems and seven sewage systems in the 58 Texas counties covered by Gov. Greg Abbott’s disaster declaration.

In a joint statement issued Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality also reported that 38 other drinking-water systems are under boil-water notices.

The TCEQ also reports that four dams failed and 17 others had some type of damage reported, but there were no reports of downstream damage or injuries as a result. None of the inoperable water and sewer systems or damaged dams was specified.

The agencies report that of the 43 Superfund sites in the Harvey-affected areas of Texas and Louisiana, 42 have been cleared and the San Jacinto River Waste Pits require follow-up because a protective cap was damaged and underlying waste material exposed.

But floodwaters from Harvey completely submerged the pits. The EPA reported last week that a sample collected from the exposed area by an agency dive team showed dioxin levels at 70,000 nanograms per kilograms, more than 2,300 times the level that would prompt a cleanup. The toxic chemicals don’t dissolve readily in water and can be spread in contaminated sediment over a large area. The EPA said more testing was needed to determine if contamination had spread from the pits.

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