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Hurricane Harvey Causes Houston Refineries to Release Over 2,700 Tons of Toxic Chemicals


Hurricane Harvey has damaged many of the oil refineries and petrochemical plants in and around Houston, Texas, exposing people in the area to elevated levels of toxic fumes and possible water contamination.

According to The Guardian, Texas refineries have leaked more than 2,700 tons of extra pollution due to direct damage sustained from Harvey, as well as the preventative shut-down of facilities.

The pollution triggered one of the worst smog events in Texas’ recent history, sending ozone levels soaring in the Houston area.

Anyone outside trying to clean-up after Hurricane Harvey is vulnerable to poor air quality, especially senior citizens, children, or individuals suffering from asthma or other respiratory ailments.

“Acute Danger” of Plant Explosions

“Communities in close proximity to these facilities will get the worst of it, as they get the worst of it on a daily basis,” Bakeyah Nelson, executive director of Air Alliance Houston, told The Guardian. “There’s also the acute danger of one of these facilities exploding in neighborhoods where storage tanks are adjacent to people’s back yards. It’s a very real threat and it’s a very precarious situation.”

Incidents reported since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas include:

Harris County Superfund Sites Flooded

Over the weekend, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed that 13 of the 41 Superfund sites in Texas were flooded by Harvey and may have been damaged in the storm.

The agency also confirmed an earlier Associated Press report that EPA personnel had not yet visited any of the Superfund sites located in the Houston area.

Water Contamination a Concern After Hurricane Harvey

According to The Guardian, the EPA and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality have around 200 staff members working to monitor wastewater issues and drinking water quality.

“Floodwaters may contain many hazards, including bacteria and other disease agents,” the agencies warned in a joint statement. “Precautions should be taken by anyone involved in cleanup activities or any others who may be exposed to floodwaters.”

Residents in the hurricane zone are being told to pay close attention to any advisories issued by their municipal authorities, including the need to boil water to prevent contamination.

Live Near a Houston Refinery and Have Questions About the Explosions or Chemical Releases? Contact Our Undefeated Plant Explosion Lawyers at 1-888-603-3636 or by Clicking Here.

If you have any concerns about the explosions at the Arkema Plant or the release of toxic chemicals from Houston plants and refineries following Hurricane Harvey, our Undefeated Plant Explosion Lawyers are available to help.  Just call 1-888-603-3636 or click here to send us a confidential email.