Air quality improves locally after plant explosion

Published 7:12 pm Friday, November 29, 2019

Fires still burn and smoke still billows, albeit lighter in color, days after the explosion at TPC Group Port Neches.

Traces of volatile organic compounds or VOC’s were detected at multiple locations in Port Arthur and Nederland through Thursday. But by Friday those amounts were 0 parts per million.

Environmental monitoring began shortly into the incident with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality employees and contractors using hand-held devices and conducting its own testing. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency and TCEQ now have an interactive “story map” that can be viewed at the EPS’s website,

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On Wednesday, in response to an explosion at the TPC facility, EPA, TCEQ, along with approximately 20 different agencies from the federal, state, county and local levels joined TPC in a Unified Command to secure the incident and protect the public and the environment, according to information from the EPA. EPA and TCEQ continue to be onsite for the emergency response focused on providing the assistance and coordination needed to address on-site and off-site environmental impacts.

EPA and TCEQ have been conducting air monitoring throughout the affected areas from the onset of the response.