Blogger Maritza Valle grew up in Southbend, next to the Brio Superfund site, just west of San Jacinto College’s South Campus:
I lived in a toxic waste dump when I was young.
Yes, let it sink in like the waste sank into our ground and somehow contaminated the water.
When I was young, I can’t remember how young, my mother and I moved in with Gamma, my maternal grandmother. Maybe I was about 7 because my brother was there too. I still remember the address: 11606 South Arbor, Houston Texas 77089. It was a subdivision, pretty new, with a nice school just around the block, and our house had a back yard opposite a huge field. Every once in a while, men in weird space-suit looking outfits would come out and mess around with the ground, which concerned me because there were cows out there, and then leave. . . .
Because of the effect of the chemicals in the water, many children born and raised in the area had terrible defects, some died. I was very blessed. We moved in just before the news broke, and so ingested very little of the water, there were no negative effects on our health. We still lived in the house for a few years, until the settlement came and we were able to move somewhere else (clearly, you can’t sell your house in a neighborhood about to be closed off to humanity). My brother, 2 cousins, and I were all given rather generous annuities to be recieved on our birthdays ages 18-21, amount depending on years lived there. I still have dreams sometimes about walking around in what became, for the last year that we lived there, a ghost town. I can’t imagine what it looks like now, it’s been surrounded by a tall fence for years.
. . . Though it was an odd time, it was by no means the great hardship for us that it was for many people. The biggest issues we had were that we had no neighbors, and relied on scores of gallon jugs, refilled at my uncle’s house from the water hose, to keep a supply of potable water. And at the time, wandering about a deserted neighborhood was, to my imagination, a great adventure.
- The Beginning of a Series [Blessed/Loved]
- Toxic Dumps [Time]
- Southbend Journal; Fear Eats Away ‘Ideal’ Neighborhood [NY Times]