At approximately 10:20 am local time on March 17, 2019, Intercontinental Terminals Company LLC (ITC) discovered a tank on fire and reported the incident to the National Response Center (NRC #1240304). EPA Region 6 Phone Duty Officer (PDO) activated the Response Duty Officer (RDO) and EPA START contractors to respond.
EPA mobilized, activated the Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology aircraft (ASPECT), and entered Unified Command on March 17, 2019. ASPECT was utilized daily, weather permitting, to conduct air monitoring overflights and air monitoring in the downwind vicinity.
EPA conducted ground level air monitoring with handheld equipment downwind of the incident location and response actions. EPA utilized the EPA Trace Atmosphere Gas Analyzer (TAGA), a self-contained mobile laboratory capable of real-time sampling of outdoor air or emissions, for continuous air monitoring of organic compounds. It was operated in the Deer Park area and all neighborhoods downwind up until May 21, 2019, when it was demobilized. EPA began collecting water samples in Tucker Bayou on March 20 and in Buffalo Bayou on March 21, 2019. EPA environmental monitoring and sampling were coordinated with state, county, and local agencies’ assessment efforts and critical areas as needed.
Tank deconstruction began on May 13, 2019.
EPA observed the deconstruction of the first five above ground storage tanks and determined that the threat to further release of hazardous substances to the environment from this incident had been mitigated. After collaboration with TCEQ, EPA transitioned oversight of the CERCLA emergency response from federal (EPA FOSC oversight) to state (TCEQ long term remediation oversight) on June 19, 2019.
View the EPA Story Map about Response activities by clicking the image below: