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Houston Ship Channel dredging project raises fears of possible chemical contamination of neighborhoods

GALENA PARK, Texas (KTRK) — A project to widen and deepen the Houston Ship Channel is being pushed back as the next phase of the project unfolds. Dirt dredged from the canal is expected to be deposited at nearby disposal facilities, and community members who live in these areas fear the waste could carry harmful chemicals with it.

The Healthy Port Communities Coalition responded to community concerns Tuesday morning.

The concern is that the dredged mud and soil contains chemicals from nearby factories and that flooding and rain can cause leaks at disposal facilities. These chemicals could then end up in the neighborhoods where people live.

The group says that by analyzing Army Corps of Engineers test reports, they determined that arsenic and other chemicals were detected at dangerous levels. The group says that if contaminated soil is dumped at designated sites in nearby communities and flooding or heavy rains occur, then the arsenic could spread into neighborhoods and homes. The group is calling for updated protection measures to be put in place to account for updated flood maps and storm forecasts.

We are told that the next phase of Project 11 will primarily concern minority communities. Activists say they are not asking for special treatment, just fair treatment, such as promising to use clean dredging vessels to reduce the impact on air quality.

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