Clean Water Action Calls on TCEQ to Take Immediate Action to Protect the Residents of Corpus Christi
Austin- Today, the the Texas office of Clean Water Action called on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to take immediate steps to identify and fine as appropriate the parties responsible for contaminating the drinking water of Corpus Christi. The city has told its residents not to drink, bathe in, or otherwise use its tap water in any way. The city has also warned that boiling the water offers no protection against the contaminants.
Reports from the City of Corpus Christi indicate that a backflow devise associated with Valero's asphalt facility and refineries malfunctioned, causing two “petroleum based” chemicals to contaminate the city's water supply. One of the contaminants has been identified as Indulin, a patented asphalt emulsifier agent that the federal Occupation Safety and Health Administration considers hazardous.
"This is a perfect example of what can happen when we don't put drinking water first,” said David Foster, State Director for Clean Water Action. “The TCEQ needs to get to the bottom of this ASAP and issue fines high enough to punish and to deter future incidents."
Major retailers are reporting shortages of bottled water as Corpus residents empty the shelves to meet their immediate needs. “The industrial violator should not only be fined, but pay or reimburse Corpus Christi for the water that needs to be trucked in --- and for the possible damage to the city's pipeline infrastructure,” added Foster. “This is also a financial hit to the people of Corpus Christi, as bottled water is far more expensive than tap water.” Foster cited the example of Spicewood Texas, which ran out of water in 2012 due to drought. The Lower Colorado River Authority trucked water in to meet essential needs.