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After two barges struck an oil tanker, at least nine thousand barrels of gasoline “blending stock” called Reformate spilled into the Houston ship channel, causing it to be closed, and creating a noxious odor in the neighborhoods nearby the spill. Texas state officials are collecting air monitoring samples and say they will notify the public if any of the readings are at dangerous levels.
Reformate is a gas product that is in an intermediate stage in the production of gasoline — and although it is colorless, it is flammable and toxic to marine life and humans.
Why This Matters:Houston really seems to have a chemical safety problem. Two chemical explosions on land and two big oil spills in the ship channel in the last two months ought to spark some sort of safety review in the area. And the warnings each time seem insufficient. For example, a local toxicologist tweeted after this latest spill that reformate should not be breathed in or touched — it is a severe respiration hazard and it’s caustic to the skin. The local warmings did not seem to involve restricting fishing or coming into contact with the channel waters. This double whammy will, according to local officials, have “short and long term impacts,” because they pose risks to marine life. Seems like an understatement. Not to mention that the entire region was under flood watch over the weekend after days of torrential rains flooded neighborhoods and even closed schools on Friday. The National Weather Service (NWS) had issued an ongoing flash flood watch for the area stretching from Houston, Texas, to the coastal city of Galveston, Texas.
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer Over 70% of the drinking water in Orange County, California comes from groundwater. But historic manufacturing nearby has polluted it due to the improper discarding of toxic chemicals. The LA Times reports that there are three major cleanup projects involving groundwater beneath 22 Californian cities, including Anaheim, Santa Ana, […]
On Saturday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for Manatee County, Florida as a wastewater reservoir at the Piney Point facility was on the verge of collapsing and causing a catastrophic situation. As the New York Times reported, the reservoir holds nearly 400 million gallons of wastewater from a former phosphate mine […]
The Supreme Court handed the state of Georgia an overwhelming victory yesterday in a long-brewing water feud with the state of Florida. In the end, it boiled (bad pun) down to Florida’s inability to show its “injury” could be remedied if it received more water.
Why This Matters: Florida was its own worst enemy in the case.
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