Captured on Sunday between bands of Harvey downpour by an enterprising drone photographer hunkering in Friendswood, the video above includes a quick pan over the Brio Superfund site south of Beamer Rd. near the intersection with Dixie Farm Rd. The former chemical facility, once at the heart of both the long-gone Southbend neighborhood and of the series of lawsuits filed by Southbend residents over contamination-related birth defects and illnesses, makes its cameo around minute 3, as the drone passes over a waterlogged Exxon Mobil station and rotates from south to east down Beamer toward the San Jacinto College South Campus.
Might floodwaters flowing across the Brio site and all those other Superfund spots dotting the local map have stirred up toxin-laced sediments and spread them around? (Texas A&M Galveston scientist Wes Highfield was worried enough about the possibility to attempt a mid-flood outing from his home to try to get some water samples.) In the video, the Brio site appears to be a little less waterlogged than some of its surroundings — including the adjacent section of Beamer Rd., shown picking up a bit of kayak traffic — but likely got washed over by around 42 in. of rain altogether in the past week.
In a follow-up drone run flown on Wednesday, the site (making an appearance about 2-and-a-half minutes in) looks like it might have dried off a bit:
Meanwhile, up the San Jacinto River under the I-10 bridge, no word yet on the status of the temporary-ish “armored cap” meant to keep the dioxin-laced muck of the San Jacinto Waste Pits snuggled into place on the channel’s edge. The cap was designed with a 100-year-storm event in mind, and has had to be repaired more than half a dozen times since its 2011 installation. (Hard to say how much water has actually flowed over the site , seeing as the closest upstream channel gauge shut down in the wee hours of Monday morning.)
- Houston’s Polluted Superfund Sites Threaten to Contaminate Floodwaters [Washington Post]
- Previously on Swamplot: You Might Want To Take That Dioxin Out of the San Jacinto Before a Hurricane Does It First; Can You Spot the Superfund Site Hidden in This Photo of South 610?; Returning to the Scene of the Brio Superfund Site, Before Its Hollywood Moment; My Toxic Houston Childhood
Videos: Adam Rayburn