DEER PARK, Texas - After days of spraying foam on the fire to put out the flames at ITC, all of that foam mixed with remnants of chemicals is now running off into area waterways.
At the Houston Ship Channel, water samples are being taken to test for quality. A gigantic filter or boom has also been set in the ship channel to try to catch that massive mixture of hazardous wastes in the water, which is going straight toward Galveston Bay.
This stream of foam and hazardous chemicals, which has collected in Tucker Bayou, right next to the ITC facility, is headed for a larger waterway. So, how much of the mess will end up in Galveston Bay?
“We really don’t know at this point and time,” answers President of the Galveston Bay Foundation, Bob Stokes. He says there is plenty to be concerned about. “The concern would be any toxins that are out there getting into the food chain in some fashion, whether it’s fish, shrimp or crabs".
TCEQ, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, says the water is being tested from Tucker Bayou to the Ship Channel to drainages beyond, but it could be up to 72 hours before we get results.
Stokes says hopefully the boom set up to catch the material in the ship channel will work.
“Booms are good, solid devices, but they’re not perfect. So there’s going to potentially be mixing and some water that will get out to the ship channel and eventually into Galveston Bay,” says Stokes.
So, is it safe to fish and swim in Galveston Bay? There are no current restrictions, but we won’t know the quality of the water until the test results are back. TCEQ says it will coordinate any cleanup required, if necessary.