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Crude oil leak at Marathon Petroleum facility in Texas City

Texas City officials say those in the area may smell a strong odor, but there is no threat to the surrounding community.

TEXAS CITY, Texas — Cleanup continues after an oil leak Wednesday morning at the Marathon Petroleum facility in Texas City.

What happened

Texas City's Homeland Security director blamed a pump seal failure for the leak from a crude oil tank. It started at about 8 a.m.

Officials said the leak has since been contained on-site and there’s no danger to the public.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is monitoring air quality.

The only impact on the public was a road closure while crews worked to clean up after the leak.

Surveying damage

By mid-afternoon, Marathon employees were surveying the damage from the air.

They were also seen spraying water on the impacted area.

Here's a statement from Marathon:

“The refinery has deployed air monitoring in the community as a precaution, and there is no indication of risk to the community. Cleanup is underway, and regulatory notifications have been made. An investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the release.”

Environmental impact

The head of Galveston Bay Foundation believes the odds are low that oil could escape into nearby water.

“These facilities are built with a series of berms and levees and gates that they can close off when there’s a spill in the interior of the facility, and so again, they are close to the Bay. ... but it appears that the design of this facility is working correctly,” Bob Stokes said.

Air Alliance Houston said the longer the spill stays exposed to the air, the more chemicals enter the environment.

“Things like benzene, toluene, xylene, they’re all in the crude oil, but they evaporate really quickly, and they enter the air as well. So, we’re concerned. Immediately, the most concern is about those substances and how long they stay in the environment and how far they traveled, depending on the weather conditions,” Anthony D’Souza, with AAH, said.

The United States Coast Guard is not responding at this point.

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