Distribution of Halogenated Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in Galveston Bay, TX
The Deer Park Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) fire began March 17, 2019, was ultimately extinguished on March 20. However, there was a breach in the wall surrounding the tanks on March 22 that released chemicals into the Houston Shipping Channel, lower San Jacinto River. Samples from March 23, 2019, demonstrated higher than expected concentrations of halogenated VOCs in Galveston Bay, TX, with noticeably elevated concentrations in the lower San Jacinto River as compared to other areas of the bay. The abundance of these halogenated VOCs decreased over time in the bay following the ITC fire, yet elevated concentrations remain in the major freshwater sources, leading to elevated fluxes of halogenated VOCs into the bay. Continued monitoring of the freshwater sources into Galveston Bay, along with Galveston Bay itself, is necessary to understand whether the elevated concentrations are directly related to the ITC fire.