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Public air, water quality threatened
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Crosby Volunteer Fire Department, Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office released the following statement in regard to the fire at an Arkema facility in Crosby, Texas.
“EPA and TCEQ are providing direct support to Michael Sims, Incident Commander, Crosby Volunteer Fire Department and Chief Bob Royall, of the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office, who are leading a coordinated local, state and federal effort as part of the Unified Command to control the fire at the Arkema facility in Crosby, Texas.
“At this time, we are responding to a fire, not a chemical release. Our focus remains on the safety of those around the facility, and we urge everyone in the area to follow the safety instruction of local authorities, specifically avoiding smoke and floodwaters. We continue to monitor smoke and air quality, and the potential for additional fires in the area and have aerial assets ready to be deployed if any additional fires occur. We are all working together to ensure we have the right number and the right people on the scene.
“As with all smoke, people can limit the potential for adverse health effects by limiting their exposure. This includes staying indoors with doors and windows closed and running the air conditioning (if possible) with the fresh intake closed. If it is absolutely necessary to be outdoors, try to move out of the plume of smoke and minimize heavy work, exercise, or children’s playtime.
“Federal and state mobile command is currently about 200 people, who are working elbow-to-elbow, starting in Corpus Christi and moving east with primary responsibility of the health and safety of those affected by Hurricane Harvey. As we continue to respond to this natural disaster and its devastating effects on the people of Texas, the biggest threat to public health at this time is ensuring they have access to safe drinking water and ensuring wastewater systems are being monitored, tested for safety and managed appropriately.”