Source: http://www.live5news.com, March 25, 2019
Environmental officials in Texas confirm there are dangerous levels of chemicals in the channel waters around Houston after a dike wall collapsed during a re-ignited fire at the chemical plant in Deer Park on Friday.
Intercontinental Terminals Co., the company that owns the plant, said flames breached the dyke wall around its chemical tank yard and chemicals leaked out.
The company recorded 1,000 parts per billion on Peninsulas Street near Buffalo Bayou. They said anything above 180 is cause for health concerns.
This all comes after a dike wall collapsed Friday, spilling chemicals at the ITC plant and a fire broke out a third time.
The Coast Guard is actively working to clean the channel, a representative said in a press conference.
Though the Houston Ship Channel remains closed on Monday, San Jacinto River opened for two-way travel, said Capt. Kevin Oditt of the Coast Guard in a Monday press conference.
They’re also working hard to clean up the spill from Friday.
“As of yesterday we had over 40 vessels underway that were out and out in the ship channel actively skimming, dragging snare, trying to recover oil, and we, since yesterday, we ordered in another additional 30 vessels,” Jared Toczko of the U.S. Coast Guard said Sunday.
The Environmental Protection Agency said it and other agencies are constantly monitoring the air quality, and “no air monitoring detections of concentrations” of chemicals have been reported, Adam Adams of the EPA reported.
The company is actively moving products from damaged tanks, a company representative said.
ITC and area leaders said they’re doing everything to make sure the fire doesn’t re-ignite again.
“I can assure you I am asking the questions to make sure it’s everything that can be done be done and to the best of my ability I’m here to tell you it is,” Deer Park Mayor Jerry Mouton said.
Officials say the ship channel will fully re-open once they determine that the area is safe.
The ship channel is a part of the port of Houston, which is one of the country’s busiest seaports.
After only attending classes one day last week because of ongoing issues with the chemical facility fire, students in Deer Park Independent School District returned to school Monday.