Chemical Leak

A forklift operator drives past chemical containers at an abandoned chemical storage facility near the Texas City Wye Saturday, April 25, 2015.

TEXAS CITY — Thousands of gallons of chemicals were found at an improperly abandoned storage facility where leaking sulfuric acid caused a road closure at the Texas City Wye lasting until early Saturday morning, officials said.

Emergency crews were still cleaning up the leak into Saturday afternoon because thunderstorms hampered the response. The rain also hindered crews from determining exactly how much sulfuric acid leaked from the five 250-gallon containers.

Galveston County Emergency Management Coordinator Garret Foskit estimated about 75 full or partially filled 250-gallon containers were left at the site in the 200 block of Texas City Wye. It’s unclear whether 55-gallon drums also found at the industrial site contained chemicals, Foskit said. He estimated at least 50 of the smaller drums were abandoned at the storage facility.

“It was significant because it had the potential to be bad,” Foskit said. “We had no idea how bad it was because we have to be careful. We have to assume worst case.”

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and several other state and local agencies responded to the leak, Foskit said. The Daily News was unable to reach the state agency for comment.

Derek Duckett, director of homeland security for Texas City, said Yode Investments owns the property. The Bacliff-based company has 10 commercial property sites in Galveston County, including two at the Texas City Wye, according to Galveston Central Appraisal District’s online records.

County records list the company AAA Chemicals to be at that address as well. Duckett said the information he had was that the company “shares” the property with Yode Investments.

Foskit said the operator of the facility “skipped town,” leaving Yode Investments to handle the chemical clean up of remaining containers with assistance from the state. He said it appeared the previous operator left the site without following proper protocol, meaning criminal, civil or administrative litigation is possible.

Reports of the a pungent smell in the area first came around 9:30 p.m. Friday. There was no call for an evacuation because the wind blew the smell toward Texas City’s industrial sector and away from the residential communities of Bayou Vista and Omega Bay, officials said.

Still, some say they are bothered by the smell.

In a message to The Daily News, Stephanie Drake, said the “super glue” smell was evident along state Highway 146 between FM 1765 and FM 519 in La Marque. She said the smell gave her a headache.

Duckett said despite the strong odor, there was not a significant health risk to people who live in neighboring communities. The environmental company Center for Toxicology & Environmental Health LLC conducted air tests in the area and did not find any detectable threats, Duckett said.

Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds may be reached at 409-683-5334 or tjaulds@galvnews.com.

Contact reporter Chacour Koop at 409-683-5241 or chacour.koop@galnews.com.

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(9) comments

J. Shaffer

Foskit said the operator of the facility “skipped town,” leaving Yode Investments to handle the chemical clean up of remaining containers with assistance from the state. He said it appeared the previous operator left the site without following proper protocol, meaning criminal, civil or administrative litigation is possible.

I would prefer to hear that litigation is not 'possible' but instead 'will be pursued with all vigor'.

Dwight Burns

A prime example why we need the EPA. In fact, a long the Gulf Coast , we, as citizens, because of the Oil, Chemical and the many Energy Companies a long the Gulf Coast, need the presents of the EPA more then most regions in the US. When money is in the equation, many people will not do the right thing when left unchecked.

George Croix

Did the EPA keep this bunch from abandoning the chemical totes?

J. Shaffer

A little research revealed several phone numbers, a Facebook site, an address in Shore Acres and another AAA Chemical site in Pasadena.

Hopefully they will be able to track them down and hold them responsible for the environmental damage, the shutting down of major roadways and the expense of all the people who responded and had to work in the rain.

While rules may not have prevented them from abandoning the site, part of the reason we have laws is to hold people responsible when they break them.

George Croix

There are already numerous laws governing the storage and handling of hazardous materials and chemicals.
Perhaps the EPA should revert to it's former mission and spend more time enforcing same in the field, rather than embracing it's new activist role of using 'executive orders' to wreck the nations power supply, stimie as much real, viable, cost effective energy production as possible, and keep farmers from watering needed crops so a minnow can live happily ever after.
Of course, that's all very 'progressive', but has doodly squat to do with making any progress.....

George Croix

Maybe a reason they have no time for field checks...?

Washington Free Beacon, 4/27/2015
"The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is spending $84,000 to study how churches can be used to combat climate change.
A taxpayer-funded graduate fellowship at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is examining 17 faith-based institutions that have implemented "sustainability initiatives" in the hopes of developing workshops to teach pastors and other religious leaders how to change the behaviors of their congregants."

The EPA must not have gotten the message from the Home Office. Every body over there is 'evolving', while the EPA is devolving to perpetuation of the 'climate change' hoax, and sakes alive for a 'progressive' Administration, COMBINING Chuch and State.
One can only wonder how they can keep both faces straight with either initiative....

Jim Forsythe

George,it maybe they may have never reported that they had Hazardous material on site.
Spill Cleanups: Who Is Responsible?
Who is responsible for cleanup of a spill (such as a chemical release) and when the TCEQ may take over. The person responsible for cleaning up a spill is:
•the owner or operator of a facility from which a spill emanates;
•the owner, operator, or demise charterer of a vessel from which a spill emanates; or
•any other person who causes, suffers, allows, or permits a spill or discharge.
The TCEQs on-scene coordinator may determine that the responsible person is unable or unwilling to respond. In those cases, the TCEQ may take over the response action, using state funds as authorized. Texas Water Code 26.266 Exit the TCEQ requires the TCEQ to seek reimbursement of state funds spent on cleanup from any and all responsible persons.
In addition, the TCEQ may pursue administrative, civil, and criminal penalties
on the site.

Jim Forsythe

Just notices that this is about water, they have similar regs. for land.

George Croix

I know, Jim.
I'm just no fan of The New EPA, their inane focus on 'climate change', or their decreased field enforcement work in favor of Admin. sky pie chasing......
Heck, you may recall we had some instances right there in the refinery where mystery barrels and containers appeared here and there, with no real way to tell which entity dropped them off......very costly....nobody to send the bill to.......

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