Soil contamination is relatively common in the Houston area.
Superfund and landfill sites comprise a large portion of the
problem, but many smaller areas of contamination, such as from
leaking underground gasoline station tanks or illegal dumping, are
probably yet to be identified. Land close to heavy car and truck
traffic, industry or hazardous waste incinerators may be
contaminated, especially with heavy metals, but little systematic
testing has been done.
The 13-county area is home to
some 85 Superfund sites, of which
16 are listed on the National Priority List. For more information,
see the Foresight Environmental Houston program's assessment of
Contaminated and Abandoned Sites. The Foresight's Human Health
Panel rated the health concern for area residents as "high."