Captured on SundayÂ between bands of Harvey downpour by an enterprising drone photographer hunkering in Friendswood, the video aboveÂ includes a quick pan over theÂ Brio Superfund siteÂ south of Beamer Rd.Â near the intersection with Dixie Farm Rd. The former chemical facility, once at the heart of both the long-goneÂ Southbend neighborhood and of the series of lawsuits filed by Southbend residents over contamination-relatedÂ birth defects and illnesses,Â makes its cameo aroundÂ minute 3, as the drone passesÂ over a waterlogged Exxon Mobil stationÂ and rotates from south to east down Beamer toward the San Jacinto College South Campus.
Might floodwaters flowing across the Brio site and all thoseÂ other Superfund spots dotting the local map have stirred upÂ toxin-laced sedimentsÂ and spread them around?Â (Texas A&M Galveston scientist Wes Highfield was worried enough about the possibility to attempt a mid-flood outingÂ from his home to try to get some waterÂ samples.)Â 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 ofÂ kayak traffic —Â but likely got washed over by aroundÂ 42 in. of rainÂ 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:
COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOME IS WHERE THE CHEMICAL WASTE IS “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. Youâ€™d have entire streets with 4 or 5 houses on it. My friends and I would play baseball, or football in those empty lots. Weâ€™d hit baseballs through windows of abandoned homes, and itâ€™d be a dare to â€˜go into that ghost houseâ€™ 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, itâ€™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 kidsâ€™ college. We were lucky in that I didnâ€™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 didnâ€™t know it was ‘oddâ€™ 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.â€™” [Matt, commenting on My Toxic Houston Childhood] Illustration: Lulu