Dioxin lawsuit against Waste Management, International Paper and McGinnis Industrial

In 2011 Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan sued three companies for dumping toxic paper waste into the San Jacinto River. Those companies are Waste Management, International Paper and McGinnis Industrial Maintenance Corporation. The County’s factual claim is that these companies allowed dioxin, a dangerous chemical with documented risk to human health, to leak into a river system where Harris County residents have fished and swam since the 1960s. The County is seeking $2,000,000,000 ($2 billion) in penalties because the three companies failed to disclose the waste and clean it up. Residents of The Highlands have filed a lawsuit of their own; many of these residents are represented by Smith & Hassler.

In 2008 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) named the waste pits a Superfund site and took over remediation. Waste Management, International Paper and McGinnis Industrial Maintenance Corporation were ordered by the EPA to place a temporary cap over the waste pits, but the concern the Highlands residents have is that the cap could not withstand a major flood.

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