In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, we’ve been shining a spotlight on a variety of pollution problems, including Superfund sites, sewage overflows and air emissions. Environment America is working alongside our colleagues at TexPIRG to stay on top of the latest news and information about pollution in the area. Here’s a list of what we know so far.
Texas’ oil and gas regulator, the Railroad Commission of Texas, has received reports of spilled oil, gas, and other fluids from at least 20 locations, involving thousands of barrels of oil and produced water. We may never know the full impacts of these spills, but here’s what we know now.
179 sewage overflows in the Houston area have been reported since Hurricane Harvey hit, totalling more than 31 million gallons of sewage flowing in to streets and waterways. Read more here.
Officials are still trying to confirm whether Texas floodwaters have spread contamination from the toxic waste sites known as “Superfund sites” to residential areas. The Environmental Protection Agency says 13 Superfund sites were flooded and potentially damaged by Hurricane Harvey. Click here for a list of those locations, along with the contaminants at the sites and associated health concerns.
According to initial reports to Texas regulators, when Houston’s sweeping petrochemical industry shut down in anticipation of Hurricane Harvey, it released more than 2 million pounds of harmful pollution into the air. Read more here.
It is still too early to tell just how much debris was created by Harvey, but according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, it could add up to as much as 200 – 300 million cubic yards of waste behind — two to three times as much as the debris left by Katrina. That’s enough waste to fill Houston’s NRG Stadium 60 to 90 times over, and it’s two to three times the volume of compacted trash landfilled by the entire state in all of 2015. Read more here.
Pending budget proposals from the Trump administration and Congress threaten key programs that protect our communities from storm-related impacts. Programs that prevent or curb flooding, sewage overflows and leaks from toxic waste sites all face budget cuts. Read more here.