Comment of the Day: The Uncharted Inner Loop

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE UNCHARTED INNER LOOP “. . . you really haven’t got a clue if you think that suburban soil toxicity is a good reason to live inside the loop. The oldest parts of the city experienced the longest duration of industrial activity prior even to the creation of the EPA, much less even an understanding of what chemical agents were toxic. Check out the EPA’s EnviroMapper applet for an account of all known toxic waste sites (you’ll be amazed at the number), and even then bear in mind that that information is far from complete because there’s no telling what kind of crud was being mindlessly dumped on bare earth way back when and never reported. The Inner Loop isn’t supplied with well water anymore, so the toxic soils below us fortunately aren’t much of a problem…but that redeeming characteristic is shared by most of the City of Houston. The municipal water supply certainly doesn’t just abruptly stop all at once at the 610 Loop.” [TheNiche, commenting on My Toxic Houston Childhood]

3 Comment

  • Out of curiosity I pulled up 77025 which is where I grew up. The only two sites are the waste treatment plants along Braeswood and Beechnut. No surprise there. But for the most part, that entire area is residential and was never industrial. The areas that are industrial always were. Native Houstonians know where the industrial areas were and while 40 years ago they may not have thought twice about it, do now.

    Some of the worst environmental damage which does pose a risk with regard to ground water are “oil changes” of the truck which usually involved dumping the oil into an oil pit and batteries that were just stacked up on the side of a building and allowed to leak.

    I worked with a non-profit organization years ago on the purchase of land which had to be remediated. I would think twice before I ever bought in the East End as a result. But then I would have anyway.

    For the most part, you’re still safer “Inside the Loop” although Ft. Bend County for the most part is probably safer than most of the “rural” areas simply because most of it was rice farms. But even then, well, native Houstonians remember what was where. And don’t buy in certain areas. Particularly now.

  • Although I must add that in Ft. Bend County you should drive around the neighborhood and look for all those “vent pipes” with the “warning signs” on them. One buyer I worked with did just that. And decided they loved the house but didn’t want to live by a benzene pipeline. It raises some issues for realtors obviously. What is safe, what is not, what do you disclose, what do you have to disclose, and of course if somewhere down the road someone finds a benzene line leaked you have to wonder if they’re going to sue you. Or whether a seller is going to sue you if you disclose there’s a benzene pipeline in the easement behind their house.

    It bothers me personally. I would check the pipeline maps before I bought in certain areas. There is a LNG line running through Fondren Southwest and Westbury. They are supposedly safe. One outside of Bellville wasn’t so safe. There is also an oil pipeline, I think it’s an oil pipeline, running through Tanglewood.

    Of course a plane can fall out of the sky and crash into your house, so I guess in the end the only solution is to live offshore and take a boat in to work each day. Of course a plane can fall out of the sky and crash into your home offshore.

    Just the same, environmental hazards are something everyone has to worry about in the Houston area.

  • If you look at photos of “way back when” there weren’t a lot of people around to dump the toxic. Only 50 years ago, outside the loop was mostly empty.