Dioxin Developments

March 27, 2017 | Complex Torts & Product Liability | General Liability

Dozens of Plaintiffs in San Jacinto River Superfund Case Now Must Offer Evidence of Alleged Injuries or See Case Dismissed

About three dozen “lead” plaintiffs who are suing for damages they alleged they suffered from exposure to toxins at the San Jacinto River Superfund site have begun to offer, or soon will have to offer, evidence of their alleged injuries, so that the trial court will be able to determine whether the civil action can proceed to trial or should be dismissed.

Many of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit, which was filed in 2012, alleged that they had lived or worked near the river their whole lives, and that their health or property had been damaged.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Richard Mithoff, recently told the Houston Chronicle that the case was “about the handling and storage of waste – waste that we think includes components like dioxin and various PCBs that are very, very harmful to health and in some cases have caused cancers that are fatal.”

Defendants in this lawsuit, including International Paper, Waste Management, Inc., and McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corp., have moved to dismiss the action – the third to be filed in a local court over the San Jacinto River site.

* * *

Fox Claims Its Investigation Found Dioxin in Galveston Bay Sludge Pits

A Fox affiliate in Texas has reported that there is dioxin in the sludge pits in Galveston Bay.

According to the report by Fox 26, records held by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (the “TCEQ”) indicated that there was dioxin in three ponds in amounts five times higher than found at the San Jacinto River Superfund site.

Waste Management, Inc., issued a statement to Fox that said, “Measured levels [of dioxin] are typical of decades-old legacy waste from that period. The facility was certified closed more than a decade ago, the material continues to be safely contained, and TCEQ confirms that the ongoing maintenance of the site continues to be appropriate.”

The Environmental Protection Agency told Fox 26 that it was assessing the results provided by Fox 26 and that it would take “appropriate action.”

* * *

Next Steps Announced for Georgia-Pacific Mill Site Remediation

The next steps for the remediation of the Georgia-Pacific Mill Site at Fort Bragg, California, have been announced.

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”), which is responsible for overseeing remediation of the site, explained at a recent workshop and city council meeting that its focus would be on ponds that were used to filter ash from the mill’s power plant. The ash reportedly contained dioxin.

According to the DTSC, one pond would be excavated to remove all contaminants while others would see contaminant levels reduced.

A DTSC specialist, Nathan Schumaker, was quoted in local reports as saying that it was “very unlikely” that, after testing, the area at the site that already had been subjected to remediation by the state would show significant contamination.

For further information, please contact James V. Aiosa, Paul V. Majkowski, Lawrence S. Han, or your regular Rivkin Radler attorney.

Related Publications

Legal updates and news delivered to your inbox