HOUSTON — Environmentalists have concerns about runoff from the ITC fire in Deer Park. They fear contamination in the Houston Ship Channel could hurt Galveston Bay.

Every area bayou, even runoff from the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, flows into Galveston Bay. Tides coming in and out circulate its water into the Gulf of Mexico.

But one of the bay’s biggest feeder, the ship channel, has been swallowing water from ITC’s fire for days.

Contractors for the company put booms, typically used by industry for oil spills, in the channel. They are supposed to keep good and bad water from mixing and isolate pollution for clean-up. However, environmental groups have doubts.  

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KHOU 11 News received several questions from viewers and Facebook followers about the runoff as well.

The booms are not perfect, according to  Bob Stokes, president of The Galveston Bay Foundation, a 32-year-old non-profit advocacy group. Waves can carry toxins over booms. Toxins can also flow under and contaminate soil, poison fish, shrimp and crab which can make people who eat them sick, Stokes said.

So far, neither the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality nor the Enviornmental Protection Agency said which toxins, if any, and how much pollution is in the runoff.

TCEQ tested, but their labs need a day or three to get results. Stokes wants more.
“We’re looking for transparency on what exactly is being sampled, how they’re sampling it, where they’re sampling it and we still haven’t been told even that,” he said.
The EPA told KHOU 11 News they measured no hazardous levels of chemicals in water samples but will continue to test.