Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo noted at a press conference on Thursday, Feb. 23, that 500,000 gallons of the wastewater had been delivered to the city of Deer Park for disposal. The county learned about the delivery of the wastewater just a day earlier. (Related: EPA chief downplays Ohio chemical spill, says he'll allow his kids to drink and bathe in East Palestine's water.)
The wastewater was transported to Texas Molecular, which injects hazardous waste into the ground for disposal. The company claims it is experienced in this disposal technique and that the process is very safe.
"Our technology safely removes hazardous constituents from the biosphere. We are part of the solution to reduce risk and protect the environment, whether in our local area or other places that need the capabilities we offer to protect the environment," claimed the company.
George Guillen, a biology and environmental science professor at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, claimed that the deep well injection process used by Texas Molecular is a common practice that poses minimal risks to the millions of residents of Harris County.
"This injection, in some cases, is usually 4,000 or 5,000 feet down below any kind of drinking water aquifer," claimed Guillen. "Could it come up someday? Yes, maybe, but hundreds of years from now or thousands of years from now."
Hidalgo noted that Texas Molecular informed county officials of the delivery of a half million gallons of wastewater and warned that an additional 1.5 million gallons will be hauled to the company's site by about 30 trucks in the coming days.
Despite only learning about the presence of the wastewater in the county on Wednesday, Hidalgo noted that Texas Molecular has been receiving wastewater from East Palestine for the past week.
Hidalgo was told that there was no law requiring her office to be informed about the wastewater. But the judge noted that she and other local officials are still very upset that they were kept out of the loop by a "fundamentally broken system."
"This is a wake-up call. It doesn't look like any regulations necessarily were broken by the fact that nobody told us. But it doesn't quite seem right," said Hidalgo. "There are many things we don't know that we should know. That doesn't mean that something is wrong, but it's worth noting."
Local residents and organizations are also concerned by the sudden appearance of half a million gallons of toxic water in their neighborhoods. Tammy Baxter, a resident of Deer Park, is concerned by the fact these toxins will be present in the ground she walks.
Baxter was informed that the wastewater will be deposited into a deep well injection site from a news broadcast. When she called the mayor's office in Deer Park, she expected a return phone call dispelling the rumor. Instead, her worst fears were confirmed.
"There has to be a closer deep well injection [site]. It's foolish to put it on the roadway. We have accidents on a regular basis. Do they really want to have another contamination zone? It is silly to move it that far," said Baxter. "I am disturbed. I am shaken by the information."
"We are disturbed to learn that toxic wastewater from East Palestine, Ohio will be brought to Harris County for 'disposal,'" wrote the Houston branch of the Coalition for Environment, Equity and Resilience. "Our county should not be a dumping ground for (the) industry."
Learn more about the toxic chemicals released in the aftermath of the East Palestine train derailment at Toxins.news.
Watch this episode of the "Health Ranger Report" as Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, discusses how to block the toxic chemical fallout from the East Palestine disaster from getting into the food, water and air.