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Galveston Bay Foundation takes ITC cleanup into its own hands

The foundation is teaming up with the Environmental Defense Fund and Texas A&M students to do testing up and down the channel.

DEER PARK, Texas — One local nonprofit happened to be out on the Houston Ship Channel already during Friday’s chemical release at the ITC facility.

The Galveston Bay Foundation is spending $15,000 to test water around the ITC facility so they can finally get their own answers. 

“Anything that ends up in the ship channel is ending up in the bay," Galveston Bay Foundation Water Quality Manager Sarah Gossett said.

It’s their lack of confidence in the cleanup that led them to Friday.

“We’re hearing reports of a lot of that runoff coming over and under the boom," Gossett said. “We’ve been trying to get more information on the type of testing that’s been happening, and we’ve not been able to understand what’s been happening at all.”

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With their boat in the water and masks on, they’re sailing out to search for answers.

“So we’re testing for a suite of chemicals that will help us better understand how this fire and the resulting cleanup might be impacting the environment in a way that could have short and long term impact on ourselves," Gossett said.

The foundation is teaming up with the Environmental Defense Fund and Texas A&M students to do testing up and down the channel.

“We are still in a tidally influenced area, so water is flowing in and out on a pretty regular basis, so with that comes water quality implications but upstream and downstream from the fire," Gossett said.

As advocates for their bay, protection is not just their passion, it’s their profession. 

“We are part of the community who lives on the bay," Gossett said. "We don’t have a vested interest in this area financially, but we care about the bay and want to make sure it remains healthy and productive and safe so that we can have thriving businesses and thriving communities and a beautiful resource for us to enjoy."

The foundation says they hope to get results back as early as Saturday, and depending on what the results show will determine what they do next.

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