Channelview residents concerned after foam from ITC fire arrives in community

By Rose-Ann Aragon - Reporter

CHANNELVIEW, Texas - Some Channelview residents noticed white foam on lawns, cars, roofs and waterways after a fire at the nearby ITC facility.

Harris County officials said the foam is a product of ITC that went airborne after the recent storms in the area. Officials are warning residents not to touch it or inhale it.

Alessandra Belches said she woke up to large chunks of white foam on top of her car in Channelview.

"All around right here, I see this white thing,” Belches said.

It is a white foam that several Channelview residents tell KPRC they have seen for days now. Thursday, they said they did not know what it was.

Belches tried to clean it off her car with her windshield wipers on her way to work.

"We've seen foam floating around the edges,” Fred Mares said.

Mares lives about five minutes away from Belches. He lives next to the water.

"[The foam is] kind of in little patches,” Mares said. “See, it's been windy today, so it's been washing downstream."

The ITC facility in Deer Park is four miles from the neighborhood where residents had seen foam.

The Harris County Pollution Control Services Department stated to KPRC:

"Our responding investigator determined that as a result of the severe weather event that occurred last night foam from the ITC property became airborne during the storm, ITC verified this conclusion. Residents should not touch the substance. If observed they should call Pollution Control (713)-920-2831 to report the foam’s location. The foam’s consistency is light and will disintegrate if left alone. Pollution Control is investigating complaints of foam as they are coming in. PCS collected a sample of foam however, it disintegrated upon collection we are attempting to rehydrate and analyze the sample to allow a review of its contents."

Officials told residents to report it. So far, it has only been made aware of foam in Channelview.

"Makes you wonder what else is coming at you. If it's in the water, it evaporates, if you inhale it, who really knows what chemicals are really out there?” Mares said.

Mares said when the ITC fire happened, he and his family members, who live in Channelview, could not breathe well. He said the sky was filled with smoke and his wife developed rashes. He said she still has them.

"I've seen some other substances in the water, I'm not sure what it is, but I can tell it's not part of the normal water,” Mares said.

Mares has lived in that same home for more than 20 years. Meanwhile, other parents are worried that their children play on the grounds.

"I was thinking more for my kids and for everybody,” Belches said.

They said they just want to know who is really paying the price.

"What will they give you in exchange for your life if you lose it?” Mares said. “No amount of money is going to buy that back."

County officials said anyone who encounters foam should report it to Pollution Control at 713-920-2831.

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