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Galveston Bay and Houston Ship Channel: Assessing Contamination from Dioxin and PCBs

A completed project to assess sources of contamination in fish from dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and evaluate options for reducing them so it is safer to eat fish from the area waterways.

Counties: Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Galveston, Harris, Jackson, Matagorda, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria
Parameters: Dioxin and PCBs
Basins:Bays and Estuaries, Neches-Trinity Coastal, Trinity River, Trinity–San Jacinto Coastal, San Jacinto River, San Jacinto–Brazos Coastal
Segments:0702, 0801, 1101, 1103, 1113, 2421, 2422, 2423, 2424, 2425, 2432, 2438, 2439

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Background and Goals

Both dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are extremely persistent in the environment. In July 2008, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) advised people not to eat catfish species or spotted sea trout from the Galveston Bay system, including Chocolate Bay, East Bay, West Bay, Trinity Bay, and contiguous waters. The advisory was issued due to dioxin and PCBs found in fish tissue. More information about the consumption advisory is available in Advisory 50 on the DSHS web siteExit the TCEQ.

Overexposure to dioxin can cause a variety of harmful health problems, including cancer, birth defects, diabetes, developmental delays, and immune system abnormalities. PCBs are linked to increased rates of certain cancers in rats, mice and study animals, suggesting they probably increase cancer risks for humans.

Learn more about water quality standards and monitoring by reading Preserving and Improving Water Quality Adobe Acrobat PDF Document.

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Get Involved

The Houston-Galveston Area CouncilExit the TCEQ coordinated public participation activities for this project in conjunction with two related projects for dioxin and PCBs in their area. Due to the lengthy and extremely technical nature of this project, the TCEQ convened a standing stakeholder group to work on this and two other closely related projects for PCBs and dioxin in the Houston–Galveston area. The group included area residents and representatives of nongovernmental organizations, industry, and various local, state, and federal governments.

The H-GAC also coordinated participation, as needed, with the Texas Clean Rivers Program Steering Committee and the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for the San Jacinto River Basin and associated coastal basins.

See more about the Galveston Bay and Houston Ship Channel Dioxin Project and the Survey of Dioxin and PCBs in Galveston Bay.

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Reports and Other Documents

Quarterly Project Reports from Contractor

All quarterly reports are PDFs Adobe Acrobat PDF Document.

2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
September September September September n/a
n/a n/a June July n/a
MarchAppendixes March March March n/a
n/a December December DecemberAppendixes December


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For More Information

Please e-mail us at, and put “Galveston Bay System dioxin and PCBs project” in the subject line. Or call us at 512-239-6682.

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communities working together taking care of our rivers, lakes, and bays