ITC Fire - Deer Park Water Quality Report
Update: Thursday, April 11, 2019
Following the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) fire event on March 17, the City of Deer Park began conducting voluntary sampling of the drinking water supply to ensure public safety during and following the incident.
To meet this goal, the City began working with Envirodyne Laboratories, Inc. on March 20 and continued a daily sampling process through April 1. This sampling assessed the City’s drinking water supply for the presence of volatile organic carbons (VOCs) and semi-volatile organic carbons (SVOCs). The VOC and SVOC tests check for the presence of particulates including benzene, toluene and xylene, products released during the ITC fire and response.
To date, no readings have reached or surpassed drinking water standards, which are established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). In other words, the City received favorable drinking water quality results throughout the response period.
However, according to Surface Water Plant Supervisor Nicholas Cook, the City received notification from Envirodyne on Tuesday that one sample collected on March 31 reflected a trace amount of benzene, which is approximately five times lower than the drinking water standard. These results were provided to the City at the conclusion of the 10-day testing cycle for SVOCs.
“Throughout the response period, we have been in consistent communication with Envirodyne Laboratories, and we were notified Tuesday that one sample tested positive for benzene at a level approximately five times lower than the drinking water standard,” Cook said. “Sampling conducted before and after that result had no detections of benzene. Although we received reporting of the low-level presence for one day, all of the results we have received show that our water is - and has been - safe for citizen consumption.”
In subsequent communication with TCEQ, Cook confirmed that the trace amount of benzene detected in the single sample would not cause short-term or long-term health effects to residents.
“In addition to completing voluntary testing through Envirodyne, the City’s Water Treatment Plant staff has been diligent in conducting regular sampling of the water coming in and leaving the plant throughout and following the ITC event,” Cook said. “We understand the community’s concerns following this major incident, but have taken every possible precaution to continually ensure the safety of our drinking water supply.”
Since April 1, VOC tests have continued three times per week. As the City has received each set of water quality results, they were shared with the community through the City’s website on both an ITC Fire page and on a “Water Quality” news item on the City’s homepage. The City will continue to share water testing results as they are provided.
Update: Wednesday, April 3, 2019
The City of Deer Park received additional data Wednesdayfrom Envirodyne Laboratories, Inc. following voluntary testing on the city'sdrinking water supply following the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC)Deer Park fire and response.
According to Nicholas Cook, Surface Water Treatment PlantSupervisor, the additional content includes semi-volatile organic compounds(SVOC) data. The volatile organic compounds (VOC) data from the original reportis unchanged and provided as part of the final report. All the data indicatesthere are no health concerns related to the city’s drinking water.
Cook said additional results will be provided to the Cityregularly, and the information will be posted to the City's website when it isreceived.
View the updated report here: City drinking water -Voluntary testing results
Water Quality Reports:
March 27, 2019
Attached is the Volatile Organic Carbon (VOC) report from Envirodyne labs. These samples were taken on Wednesday, March 20, from the Surface Water Treatment Plant finished water- water leaving the plant and entering the distribution system. No benzene was detected. The only volatiles detected were the Total Trihalomethanes (THMs) which was measured at 14.0 micrograms per liter (ug/L). This is below the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) which is 80 ug/L. Trihalomethanes are normally present in drinking water samples.
They also looked for Tentatively Identified Compounds and found none. We plan to continue monitoring for VOCs and other potential compounds daily for the next week. Some of the tests that were taken have not returned results at this time, but these results are a positive sign that the drinking water was not affected by the events at ITC.
The City of Deer Park has received documentation Thursday confirming the results of testing of the City of Deer Park’s drinking water supply. The testing was completed on a voluntary basis following the response to the fire incident at Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) Deer Park.
Envirodyne Laboratories, Incorporated collected samples on Wednesday, March 20th and tested the samples and provided the physical report on Thursday, March 21st. According to Nicholas Cook, Surface Water Treatment Plant Supervisor, the results were very positive and represented the expected outcome.
“The tests revealed no evidence of benzene in the water,” Cook said. “The only volatile organic compounds (VOCs) detected were the total trihalomethanes at 14 ug (micrograms) per Liter, which is well below the maximum allowed 80 ug/Liter. Trihalomethanes are normally present in drinking water samples.
“The tests also looked for tentatively identified compounds and none were detected.”
In a joint press release with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Coast Guard and Harris County, the City provided information about ongoing efforts to assess water quality following the ITC incident.
The full text of the release is provided below.
Joint News Release – Originally released March 21
Unified command working to assess water quality near ITC site
Teams and contractors from the city of Deer Park, Harris County, TCEQ, EPA, and the U.S. Coast Guard are working together to evaluate impacts to Tucker Bayou and the Houston Ship Channel surrounding Intercontinental Terminals Co. in Deer Park, which recently dealt with several large fires in its chemical storage tanks.
The city of Deer Park reports that run-off of foam and chemicals resulting from the fire response do not pose a threat to the quality of the city’s drinking water. Drinking water is provided to the city by the Coastal Water Authority which draws from the Trinity River. Water is stored in a reservoir located northeast of the Lynchburg Ferry. From there, it travels through a closed pipe system to Deer Park customers. Water in the municipal water system does not come into contact with the water impacted by the fire response. Furthermore, the public water system is designed to treat debris that has fallen, such as ash, that may have encountered untreated water stored at the drinking water plant. Treated water is contained within a pressurized distribution system. Laboratory testing of the city of Deer Park’s water revealed no evidence of benzene. The only volatile organic compounds detected were the total trihalomethanes at 14 micrograms per liter, which is well below the maximum allowed 80 micrograms per liter which is a disinfectant byproduct.
The area north of Texas 225 drains toward the Houston Ship Channel, which is not used by any public water system in the Houston area as a source for drinking water. Deer Park residents who use wells north of Texas 225 should have their water tested before using.