Environmental Impacts of ITC Fire: What Galveston Bay Foundation Has Found 

Help Fund Galveston Bay Foundation’s Efforts

Galveston Bay Foundation Water Monitoring on March 23, 2019.

**UPDATE: Galveston Bay Foundation sampled all six shoreline locations for VOCs on April 5, 2019. All samples were below detection levels for compounds listed on this map. Galveston Bay Foundation is still waiting to receive information on PFAs concentrations from our partners at Texas A&M.

Galveston Bay Foundation will continue to collect samples from the shoreline on Friday, April 11th. Galveston Bay Foundation will collect samples for both VOCs and PFAs.**

In an effort to track potential environmental impacts from the ITC fires and resultant cleanup, Galveston Bay Foundation collected and analyzed water samples on Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23. These samples were tested for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes. These compounds are frequently found in petrochemical biproducts and can pose threats to human health.

Galveston Bay Foundation collected five water samples from the Houston Ship Channel on Friday and six samples from nearby shoreline locations on Saturday. Friday’s samples were collected just prior to the ITC berm failure and subsequent reignition of the fire. Samples showed slightly elevated benzene levels right at the ITC facility in relation to other samples. However, all samples from Friday yielded results below state standards and federal guidelines.

To better document the impacts of the berm failure and fire, Galveston Bay Foundation collected six additional samples on Saturday, March 23rd. As the Ship Channel was closed due to impaired air quality, samples were collected from nearby nearshore locations. One sample (sample 7) from Saturday collected near the Lynchburg Ferry yielded elevated levels of benzene at 46 µg/L. This is above EPA’s recommended National Ambient Water Quality Criteria of 16 µg/L but below TCEQ’s state standards. All other samples collected Saturday had concentrations below state standards and national criteria.

This map shows all locations where Galveston Bay Foundation collected samples, as well as the results for each sample. Click on each location to view the results from the site. “No data” means that for that sample, data analysis did not meet the fit quality criterion for this analyte or the reported concentration for the analyte is below the quantitation limit. These samples were analyzed in partnership with Environmental Defense Fund.


Additional Information
Galveston Bay Foundation has also submitted samples from each site for analysis of PFOAs, compounds commonly found in fire fighting foam. These samples will be analyzed at a toxicology lab at Texas A&M University. Galveston Bay Foundation hopes to get these results back soon, and will share more information at that time.

Outside the ITC plant on Friday, March 22, 2019.

Galveston Bay Foundation also conducted water sampling on Monday and plans to continue its testing. All results will be shared.

If you have questions, please call us at 281-332-3381 or email info@galvbay.org.