There were no life-threatening chemical runoffs or air pollutants found as a result of the post-Hurricane Harvey crisis at the Arkema chemical plant early this month, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, but investigations by state regulators and the US Chemical Safety Boardcontinue.
The agency says it took samples of smoke from fires that resulted from the improper storage of chemicals at the plant near the Texas town of Crosby, but there were no chemicals found that exceeded federal standards for safety.
Six samples of runoff water also indicated no federal safety violations.
A Texas Commission on Environmental Quality investigation into the hurricane-related failure of refrigerations systems and the resulting fires at the plant continues.
In a statement, the EPA said "Each flood water sample was analyzed for volatile organic chemicals and semi-volatile organic chemicals likely to come from the Arkema plant. No volatile organic chemicals or semi-volatile organic chemicals were detected in the surface water runoff samples.
"Non-quantifiable and compounds not definitively identified are not reported. It is important to note that chemical analysis alone cannot be used as an indication of water safety. In a flood situation, there are multiple risk factors that can cause harm, industrial chemicals are only one of those risk factors."
In the meantime, "The TCEQ has an open investigation into the Arkema incident that will include an evaluation of any impacts due to the fires at the site. Additionally, after the final notifications are received, the TCEQ will evaluate the reported emissions events to determine compliance with applicable rules, permit provisions, and notification and reporting requirements," the statement added.
The TCEQ and Harris County Pollution Control are coordinating post-event monitoring, sampling, and complaint response activities.
"EPA has ordered Arkema to provide a detailed timeline of events and to respond within 10 days to questions about the handling of organic peroxides, which are combustible if not kept refrigerated, the amount of chemical materials, and the measures taken in advance to guard against flooding and loss of electricity. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has initiated an investigation at the Arkema plant in Crosby."
The EPA said it's report was in support of first responders at the fires, some of whom have filed suit against the French company that owns the Crosby plant, claiming fumes from the chemical fires made them ill.
By Mike Shiloh
Copyright September 11, 2017, Mike Shiloh, Texas Energy Report LLC, www.texasenergyreport.com, All rights are reserved