Barrels dumped in river behind historic Joppa church contain chemical resin

Richard Zowie/The Highlander
At least eight, 55-gallon barrels of an unidentified, dried resin were discovered in the San Gabriel River behind the Joppa Church in Burnet County. Authorities are looking for suspects. Call 512-756-8080 with information.





By Connie Swinney
The Highlander •

Burnet County officials are awaiting tests results of a “dried resin” found in several 55-gallon barrels illegally dumped into a waterway Aug. 5 behind an historic church outside Bertram.

In the meantime, investigators want the public's help finding possible suspects, as they start the cleanup process behind the historic Joppa Church, 8425 County Road 210, and the San Gabriel River behind the building.

The Burnet County Sheriff's Office report stated that a church official discovered at least eight 55-gallon barrels that Sunday at the bottom of an embankment, floating in the river.

“Clean up of a small river like this can easily run into the millions of dollars if the contents were to be found as hazardous,” according to a statement by church officials. “We are praying that nothing highly toxic will be found.”

Results of a sample sent to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality are pending.

Other than the solidified substance believed to be a “resin,” rolls of wire were also found at the scene.

On Aug 14, Burnet County Commissioners approved the county judge collecting estimates for the remediation process.

“Now the county is put in a position where we will contract with a removal disposal company to have this cleaned up,” Burnet County Judge James Oakley said. “The thought is it's probably going to be a $6,000 to 8,000 estimate.” . . .

Find more on this story in the Friday, Aug. 17 issue of The Highlander.

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