GALENA PARK, Texas (FOX 26) - An answer to the mystery chemical covering cars and causing quite a scare for residents in Galena Park. A spokesperson for Valero Oil says their Houston refinery is to blame.
The Harris County Pollution Control Services Department has received hundreds of phone calls regarding the puzzling problem of a strange substance soiling so many vehicles in Galena Park. Valero is clearing up a few questions regarding what it is and how it got there, but there is also an investigation.
There apparently was a leak at the Valero Houston Refinery on Monday, leaving brownish yellow spots on vehicles in Galena Park.
“That’s my 2010 pickup — it’s all over the back part and this side,” explains resident Billy Blanchard. According to Valero, it was an “oil mist” that sprayed from a production unit. The substance traveled into the air and was seen on cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles, but it isn’t property that most residents are concerned about.
“Yeah of course, I don’t want any problems with my health or my family,” says Bruno Abrego.
"I worked these refineries my whole life," adds Blanchard. "I’m retired. I don’t like breathing chemicals. I don’t even breathe mosquito spray when they spray for mosquitoes.”
The Harris County Pollution Control Services Department is investigating to make sure the chemical in question is oil as Valero claims. At this point, the department does not believe what was released is harmful to anyone’s health but some residents are skeptical.
“Any of this stuff that’s in the air eventually winds up in your lungs or on your skin,” says Blanchard.
Valero is encouraging anyone whose property was affected by the leak to contact the company's claims department at by phone at 800-678-9355.