Oil, sludge not contained near Deer Park chemical fire, Coast Guard says

By Phil Archer - Reporter

DEER PARK, Texas - A park now acts as the primary staging area for contractors working to contain or clean up the contaminates that spilled out of the ITC facility during a chemical fire that started on March 17.

The number has grown to more than 1,000 federal, state and local workers and the U.S. Coast Guard said all of the oil and sludge is not contained in the water near the site of the fire.

Pockets of oil and other hydrocarbons still contaminate the Ship Channel from River Terrace Park eastward to Buffalo Bayou, as well as Old River, San Jacinto port, and Lynchburg.

"The primary one is Tucker Bayou that we are focusing on, then we have some smaller pockets that are in Buffalo Bayou and the Ship Channel," Adam Adams, with the EPA, said.

So far, cleanup crews have deployed about 80,000 feet of floating booms and are laying more.

It appears that oil and contaminates have been able to breech the booms in several areas. The U.S. Coast Guard said the issue is being addressed.

"We have triple-tiered, essentially put tiers of booms in place. We also have skimmers on the water. Both on the opposite side of the boom, what we called the upward side of the boom, as well as in the contained areas," U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Caren Damon said.

The Coast Guard said more than half a million gallons of oily water have been skimmed up from waterways.

Neither the Coast Guard nor ITC has said how much may have flowed from the ruptured tanks into the channel.

Check out the timeline of events below:

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