05/13/15 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOME IS WHERE THE CHEMICAL WASTE IS Southbend, Houston“I lived there from 1984-1990, from 2nd to 7th grade. I remember there being a ton of empty houses by the end. They never finished the neighborhood either, given that the problems occurred and people knew about it by the end. You’d have entire streets with 4 or 5 houses on it. My friends and I would play baseball, or football in those empty lots. We’d hit baseballs through windows of abandoned homes, and it’d be a dare to ‘go into that ghost house’ to get the ball back. I remember going back in 1993 or so, and the entire place was empty, boarded up. It was sad. My dad and I hopped the fence and walked back to where our house was. We were there for about 5 minutes when the police came and wanted to know what the hell we were doing. Apparently, it’d become a place for squatters. By 1995 the entire neighborhood was bulldozed to the ground. Now just an empty field. Yes, my dad lost a ton on that house. But we were part of that settlement that is mentioned. Paid for a small portion of my college, will pay for a tiny portion of my kids’ college. We were lucky in that I didn’t have any defects (that I know of), and my sister seems alright as well, though she had severe migraines at the time. It was a weird situation, especially for a 7-12 year old. But, I didn’t know it was ‘odd’ at the time. I just thought that it was cool, that I could break a window, or climb into a back yard to get a ball back, at a house that sat empty for 4 years. I thought it was ‘normal.’” [Matt, commenting on My Toxic Houston Childhood] Illustration: Lulu

10/01/14 12:00pm

Area Surrounding Former Brio Superfund Site, Dixie Farm Rd. at Beamer Rd., Southbend Subdivision, Friendswood, Houston

Inspired by reading René Steinke’s new and recently optioned-for-film novel Friendswood, the plot of which centers on the aftermath of the Brio Superfund mess just south of I-45 and the Beltway, Cite magazine’s Allyn West returns to the former chemical waste facility at Dixie Farm Rd. and Beamer Rd. to snap some photos and have a look around: “The first thing you pass is a landfill. And then, incongruously, you pass archetypal subdivisions with bucolic names, much like Southbend must have been. There’s a dedicated bike lane on both sides of Dixie Farm, clearly marked and freshly painted. Then turning toward the site onto Blackhawk Boulevard, you pass Ashley Pointe, a new subdivision. That morning, I saw construction workers milling about around unfinished stick frames. If Southbend still existed, Ashley Pointe would sit right next to it.”

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Buried Secrets
11/30/09 5:35pm

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. . . .

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09/22/09 3:12pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: NOT MUCH HAPPENING SOUTH OF CLEAR BROOK LANDING “. . . Beamer Road is a special case because of the Brio Superfund Site. There was a waste processing plant that had disposed of a great deal of material from various refineries by dumping it into earthen pits. That was not standard practice; this was Houston’s Love Canal. The Brio site has been contained to prevent additional seepage through the groundwater, but the pollution that’s there would be far too expensive to remediate. So yeah, unless your friend got a chunk of that sweet sweet settlement, he’s probably **** out of luck.” [TheNiche, commenting on Comment of the Day: Where the Townhomes Ain’t]