Report Analyzes Toxic Chemical Releases in Texas Waterways

A statewide environmental organization has released a report summarizing the discharge of cancer-causing chemicals into Texas’ waterways. From the KUHF NewsLab, Wendy Siegle reports.


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The results of the new report, titled “Wasting Our Waterways” were released on Brady’s Landing, overlooking the Houston Ship Channel. Here’s Juan Parras, the Executive Director of a local environmental advocacy group.

“This is a hub of where all the ships come in here, and actually at the spot that we’re standing at right now is where we had that oil spill about three weeks ago, where 10,500 of barge oil leaked in here.”

According to the report, released by Environment Texas, nearly 3 million pounds of chemical waste were released in the Houston Ship Channel in 2007. The report names Shell Oil Company as a major polluter. In a written response, Shell says it is authorized to discharge treated water that meets specific limits. Shell says it is also looking for ways to reduce its emissions.

Alejandro Savransky, a field organizer for Environment Texas, says the report documents and analyzes data collected by the EPA. The 2007 data became public in May of this year.

“And we used the data, we sorted it state by state, polluter by polluter, so we could show exactly where the problems were and who is effected by this problem.”

The findings show that there are high amounts of lead, mercury and dioxin being dumped into Texas waterways.

“These are three chemicals that can get to drinking water, can get to the fish that people actually eat, and are actually linked to cancer, developmental and reproduction disorders.”

Environment Texas says the Houston Ship Channel is ranked 15th in the nation for most total toxic discharges. Galveston Bay is ranked 13th in Texas.

With this week’s 18,000 gallon fuel spill, off the coast of Galveston, and with last month’s oil spill in the Houston Ship Channel, environmentalists hope this report will encourage more steps to be taken in order to prevent spills and reduce the amount of toxic chemicals entering our waterways.