Houston, TX

Houston Refineries Dump Millions of Gallons of Contaminated Waste with Impunity

Ash Jurberg

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A shocking report released this week by the Environmental Integrity Project has found a number of refineries are dumping contaminated water into local waterways and are not being penalized for doing so.

Six of these refineries are based in the Houston area. They are combining to dump a total of 55 million gallons of wastewater containing harmful chemicals into the Houston ship channel, which flows into Galveston Bay and, eventually, the Gulf of Mexico. This can have a significant impact on marine life.

The Houston refineries named were ExxonMobil Baytown, Pemex Deer Park, Valero Houston, Chevron Pasadena, LyondellBasell-Houston, and Kinder Morgan Galena Park. Unfortunately, they are all doing so with relative impunity, as the EPA does little to prevent this or penalize their action.

"A lot of the water pollution from refineries is essentially unregulated by the EPA. The EPA has never set any limits for discharges of pollutants like selenium, cyanide, benzene, mercury and many others that are very harmful." Tom Pelton, co-director of the Environmental Integrity Project's Center for Investigations

In fact, the EPA has not updated its technology standards for wastewater systems since 1985.

Your thoughts

Do you believe these refineries should be heavily fined and banned from dumping large amounts of contaminated water in our waterways? Should the EPA be doing more to stop this? Are you concerned about the potential impact this has on people living in the Houston area?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below and share this article with others so they can join the conversation.

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