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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Harvey's second landfall

Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Protecting Louisiana's Environment for Future Generations

U.S. Energy Infrastructure Administration(EIA)
Warnings as a Result of Hurricane Harvey Coming on Shore in Texas and Southwest Louisiana 

As the hurricane force winds and torrential rainfall associated with Hurricane Harvey negatively impacted the coastal areas of Texas and southwest Louisiana, toxic chemicals and bacteria present in the impacted areas were released into the environment and contaminated the rain water/flood water as it accumulated in cities, towns and rural areas. Contaminated flood waters contaminated rivers, bayous, creeks and impounded areas, soils and sediments, and homes and businesses. Chemical were also released into the water and air from a host of small businesses, agricultural facilities, industrial facilities and petrochemical facilities. 

Sewer Systems

Sewer systems serving individual homes and  businesses, industrial facilities, subdivisions, towns and cities were inundated by excessive rainfall. Untreated sewage overflowed out of the treatment systems and contaminated the rainwater, storm water  and surface water bodies with bacteria and sewage nutrient compounds. People coming in contact with the sewage contaminated floodwaters could have been contaminated with the bacteria and chemicals and could develop bacterial infections and chemical related health impacts.

Household Chemicals 

Cleaning  chemicals stored in households and  chemicals stored in garages and sheds (gasoline, diesel, lubricants, pesticides and herbicides) were released into the floodwaters when homes were flooded. These chemicals dispersed in the flood waters have exposed individuals, who waded through and were rescued from standing flood waters, to a host of chemicals associated with a large number of acute health impacts.

Chemicals Used and Sold by Businesses

Chemicals used and  chemicals manufactured in the area Impacted by Hurricane Harvey and sold by small businesses, wholesalers, grocery stores, building supply businesses, Walmart  type stores, agricultural supply facilities, etc. were released into the flood waters and the air in the areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The chemicals consist of a broad range of very toxic chemicals that cause severe and long lasting health impacts to those individuals who come in contact with the chemicals and the chemicals contained in the flood water.

Chemicals Used and  Manufactured in the Area Impacted by Hurricane Harvey

Chemicals manufactured by and used in the manufacturing process by small and medium size chemical  manufacturing facilities, petroleum refineries and chemical plants in the Hurricane Harvey impacted area in Texas and Louisiana released large quantities of very toxic chemicals into the air and water. The chemicals were released into the environment as the result of leaks, spills, releases from storage tanks and process vessels  and flaring into the air to prevent damage  to processes. In addition larger quantities of chemicals in containers were also swept away into the environment as a result of tidal surges. During Hurricane Katrina more than 6,000 vessels, drums, containers, tanks, etc. were released into the environment as  a result of tidal surges and wind damage.

The chemicals released into the environment by Hurricane Harvey from these facilities contaminated  surface water, sediments, soils, vegetation, and individuals who  came in contact with the contaminated floodwaters and containers with chemical contents. 

Useful Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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