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TPC Port Neches Plant Fire

For two months, TCEQ has responded to the incident at the Texas Petrochemicals Group Port Neches Operations that began on Nov. 27, 2020.

TCEQ staff conducted handheld monitoring and provided that information to Unified Command. TCEQ also provided updates to the public through social media and this webpage.

TCEQ is now conducting area surveillance on a weekly basis, and unless conditions change, we will post no further data on these webpages.

On Jan. 17, 2020, our Beaumont Regional office conducted a visible emissions and odor survey in the neighborhood surrounding TPC. No visible emissions, significant readings, or odors were documented by our investigators.

Important information View Water Quality Monitoring Data (updated 12/23/2019, 3:00 p.m.)
Important information View Air Quality Monitoring Data (updated 01/13/2020, 5:00 p.m.)
Important information View the EPA Story Map about response activities on EPA's response webpage Exit the TCEQ
Important information See the Nov. 29 joint EPA/TCEQ news release
Important information More information about this incident is available at: https://portnechesresponse.com/Exit the TCEQ

As of 5:00 p.m. Dec. 20:

Local officials, TCEQ, and TPC Group continue to operate in a unified command in response to the ongoing event in Port Neches. TCEQ continues to provide support to local authorities. The agency is focusing its efforts on providing handheld air monitoring around the incident site. After the event is over and when it is safe to do so, TCEQ will investigate to determine compliance with applicable environmental regulations within its jurisdiction and provide oversight of the cleanup activities that will be conducted by TPC.

As of 3:30 p.m. Dec. 3:

Regional staff continue to provide 24-hour handheld air monitoring around the incident site along with TCEQ contractors. As of Dec. 2, at 10:00 a.m. there have been readings of various compounds including 1,3 Butadiene and Total Volatile Organic Compounds that did not reach levels of immediate health concern. All handheld air monitoring data will continue to be provided to local officials through Unified Command, as well as posted on this webpage.

EPA is continuing to support TCEQ and local emergency response personnel by conducting flyover monitoring with their ASPECT fixed-winged aircraft. All data continues to be posted on EPA’s emergency response webpageExit the TCEQ.

Currently all water runoff resulting from firefighting is now being contained onsite and treated prior to discharge. TCEQ has begun to evaluate nearby water bodies for impacts.

More information about this incident is available at: https://portnechesresponse.comExit the TCEQ

As of 1:30 p.m. Nov. 28:

TCEQ continues with handheld monitoring today. EPA has run its ASPECT fixed winged aircraft and is now posting dataExit the TCEQ.

As of 10:30 a.m., Nov. 27:

Regional staff are continuing to conduct handheld monitoring outside the evacuation zone with UltraRAEs, MultiRAEs, AreaRAEs, and QRAEs. This handheld equipment provides instantaneous readings for various compounds, including volatile organic compounds, benzene, lower explosive limit, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, radiation. No impacts to water quality have been reported.

TCEQ has requested EPA’s support, including ASPECT fixed winged aircraft. EPA is sending an on-scene coordinator and technical support personnel to the site. TCEQ contractors are en route and will also provide air monitoring support. All data will be provided to local officials through Unified Command for them to make important decisions on warnings and evacuations.

This incident is causing the release of chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Elevated levels of VOCs from this facility are odorous. Short-term exposure to high concentrations of VOCs can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, shortness of breath, headaches, and nausea. If you experience these health effects, leave the area until the situation has resolved.

Statement from Executive Director Toby Baker on TPC Group Port Neches Operations Incident (11:15 a.m. Nov. 27)

Within the last year, I have witnessed an unacceptable trend of significant incidents impacting the Gulf Coast region.  While not all emergency events may be prevented, it is imperative that industry be accountable and held to the highest standard of compliance to ensure the safety of the state’s citizens and the protection of the environment.  At this time, the TCEQ is focused on emergency response efforts, including evaluating real-time air quality data.  As this situation transitions back to normal operations and post-event remediation, all agency authority will be assessed with the aim of achieving comprehensive compliance given the presence of the petrochemical industry in Texas.