Evidence of spills at toxic site during floods
PASADENA — The U.S. government received reports of three spills at one of Houston’s dirtiest Superfund toxic waste sites in the days after the drenching rains from Hurricane Harvey finally stopped. Aerial photos reviewed by the Associated Press show dark-colored water surrounding the site as the floods receded, flowing through Vince Bayou and into a ship channel.
The reported spills, which have been not publicly detailed, occurred at U.S. Oil Recovery, a former petroleum industry waste processing plant contaminated with a dangerous brew of cancer-causing chemicals.
Over the next several days, the company reported two more spills of potentially contaminated storm water from U.S. Oil Recovery, according to reports and call logs obtained by the AP from the U.S. Coast Guard, which operates the National Response Center hotline.
The EPA has not publicly acknowledged the three spills that PRP Group reported to the Coast Guard.
The AP reported in the days after Harvey that at least seven Superfund sites in and around Houston were underwater during the record-shattering storm. U.S. Oil Recovery was not one of the sites visited by AP.
Following AP’s report, EPA has been highlighting the federal agency’s response to the flooding at Superfund sites.
While the photos do not prove contaminated materials leaked from U.S. Oil Recovery, they do show that as the murky floodwaters receded, they flowed through Vince Bayou and emptied into a ship channel that leads to the San Jacinto River.