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Officials Warn Against Consuming Fish From Houston Ship Channel

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The Houston Ship Channel has reopened after being closed for several days following a large petrochemical fire in the Houston suburb of Deer Park. Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard has been skimming the water to remove oily product, which leaked into the water as a result of the fire. Since then, the Texas Department of State Health Services has warned residents not to consume fish that’s been caught in its waters.

Normally, a warning of a similar nature would be issued for kids as well as women of childbearing age. It would advise not to consume either fish or crab from the Houston Ship Channel. However, this new warning is applicable to everyone. It further advises that if people choose to ignore the warning, they must only consume one meal per month from the area.

Officials Warn Against Consuming Fish From Houston Ship Channel

Photo: Wikimedia

The Houston Shipping Channel is known for a lot of things. It necessitates the longest toll-free tunnel in the southern U.S. It’s also home to the San Jacinto Monument, Battleship Texas, and several species of marine life. Although last week’s Deer Park fire forced the temporary closing of the channel and a review of the city of Houston’s drinking water (which was deemed fit to drink,) this latest warning might leave residents concerned. The species that are most often found in these waters for consumption consist of various catfish, black and red drum, striped bass, southern flounder, the spotted seatrout, and the sand trout, as well as sheepshead and blue crab.

Officials Warn Against Consuming Fish From Houston Ship Channel

Photo: Facebook/Michael Baker

The fire at the ITC Deer Park facility caused the closure of the Houston Shipping Channel for the period of one week. Updates on cleanup efforts following that fire indicate that a shift in winds caused pockets of oil to escape the boom containment. According to U.S. Coast Guard Captain Kevin Oditt, the oil is expected to stay between the Beltway 8 Bridge and the Lynchburg Ferry. In the meantime, Harris County officials issued a notification that there were no known impacts to the city’s drinking water. The ITC petrochemical fire broke out on Sunday, March 17, 2019. Efforts to contain and extinguish it appeared successful until reignition occurred on Friday, March 22, 2019. This came about following the partial collapse of the dike wall designed to contain its chemicals, forcing a shelter-in-place warning for the San Jacinto Texas State Historic Site as well as area residents and neighbors of the company.