Texas US Coast Guard triples length of booms deployed in ITC cleanup

Texas US Coast Guard triples length of booms deployed in ITC cleanup

March 25, 2019– Mary Greeley News – DEER PARK, Texas – The U.S. Coast Guard has tripled the length of booms it has deployed, hoping to contain more of the toxic product released during the Intercontinental Termainal Company fire in Deer Park and its clean-up process.

The boom now totals 27,000 feet, Jared Toczko, with the US Coast Guard said Sunday. Just the day before, the total was 8,500 feet. So far, crews have collected roughly 60,000 gallons of “oily product” from the waterways, he said.

The area of contamination stretches 2 nautical miles, from Patrick’s Bayou to Lynchberg Ferry, and pockets of oil are collecting in areas within that stretch, Toczko said. The number of skimmers has also been doubled, hoping to collect more surface contamination.

Texas US Coast Guard triples length of booms deployed in ITC cleanup

Alice Richardson, ITC’s public information officer, said the company has received about 1,600 calls for legal claim inquiries as of Friday. ITC has not filed for bankruptcy, Richardson said.

According to ITC Incident Commander, Brent Weber, five tanks have been emptied and secured, and they expect to have at least one more done by Monday afternoon.

Investigators said that nine toxins were detected from water samples near the ITC Deer Park ditch after multiple chemicals from the facility leaked into the Houston Ship Channel after a dike wall collapsed Friday.

Brent Weber, ITC Deer Park incident commander, said the material that leaked through the breached dike wall contained benzene, Pygas, water and foam.

Texas US Coast Guard triples length of booms deployed in ITC cleanup

The Houston Ship Channel remains partially closed because of the elevated levels of benzene.

hough the ship channel remains closed, the U.S. Coast Guard has reopened the San Jacinto river and limited traffic has started getting through the ship channel.

The foam was used to fight the chemical fire at ITC Deer Park. It was used to create a seal over the chemicals to block the fumes from escaping. During the battle against the blaze, the already deployed and contaminated foam was sitting on the floor of the chemical storage facility. That foam is what leaked out into the ditch, officials said.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality collected water samples from the ITC ditch and found that the nine toxic substances exceeded its health-protective concentration level.

“Nine constituents in the samples tested thus far exceeded their health-protective concentration level, including total xylenes, pyrene, anthracene, benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, phenanthrene, fluoranthene, and 2-methylnaphthalene,” according to the TCEQ.

Toczko said there is no clear timeline to reopen the ship channel, but said crews are continuing to monitor the levels of toxic product in the air and in the water.

Texas US Coast Guard triples length of booms deployed in ITC cleanup

As of Sunday morning, there is no word if Deer Park Independent School District will open for school on Monday. According to the school’s website,

“When it’s time for children to safely return to school, buildings will be ready for them. Our maintenance team members are working this weekend to address the following needs:

Elevated benzene levels detected in water near ITC facility, after Texas chemical fire

Team members are replacing school air filters. They have already been replaced at San Jacinto Elementary, Deer Park High School-North Campus, and Deer Park Junior High. Crews are currently working at the Deepwater-area schools.

Maintenance team members are also washing down playground equipment to make it clean and safe for students when they return.

Maintenance employees are also walking school grounds to identify additional needs.

Air systems will be activated prior to students returning so that stagnant air can cycle through the air handlers, eliminating odors and refreshing the air inside the buildings.”

Mary Greeley News

credit: In part with https://www.click2houston.com/news/us-coast-guard-triples-length-of-booms-deployed-in-itc-cleanup