TCEQ investigating refined petroleum product leak Thursday night in Port Arthur

Published 4:14 pm Friday, August 13, 2021

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An unsecured hatch on an 18-wheeler is the suspected cause for a chemical spill that shut down a Port Arthur highway for almost four hours on Thursday.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is investigating the spill.

The agency was notified of the spill by the Port Arthur Fire Department at 5:05 p.m. Thursday.

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A representative of TCEQ was in contact with PAFD during their on-scene response, according to information from TCEQ.

A spokeswoman with TxDOT said the highway reopened just before 9 p.m. Thursday.

According to the initial spill report, 55-100 gallons of a refined petroleum product leaked from a tanker truck. TCEQ is gathering information on amount and product spilled, responsible party, origination of the material and remediation activities.

At this time TCEQ does not know where the 18-wheeler was coming from or its destination.

Port Arthur fire and police departments responded to the chemical spill involving a semi-truck in the 1800 block of West Gulfway Drive.

When emergency responders arrived they noted an unknown liquid had leaked from an MC 307 type of tank trailer from an unsecured top hatch allowing the product to spill on the roadway, according to a press release from the Port Arthur Office of Emergency Management. The intermittent release occurred over an approximate one-half mile stretch before the tuck was pulled over.

Crews from PAFD identified the product as a combustible liquid.

A remediation plan was developed and implemented to mitigate the spilled product on the roadway and HazMat team members also secured the top hatch of the trailer to avoid future product releases.

Representatives of the Texas Department of Transportation were contacted and PAPD assisted with traffic and PAFD has a number of units on scene working the incident.

Port Arthur Police Chief Tim Duriso told Port Arthur Newsmedia on Thursday a Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy was working traffic near Texas 82 and Texas 87 and noticed an 18-wheeler was leaking and stopped the vehicle and notified authorities.

No injuries were reported.

The traffic circle at Texas 82 and Texas 87 was shut down due to the spill and the public was asked to avoid the area and also avoid all north and south traffic on Texas 82 at the circle.

A spokeswoman with TxDOT said the highway reopened just before 9 p.m. Thursday.