Oils sheen in Corpus Christi ship channel prompts environmental investigation

Posted at 1:35 PM, Jun 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-21 14:35:37-04

State environmental crews are looking into a substance that has ended up in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel.

Around 7:30 a.m. Thursday, a Flint Hills employee saw what appeared to be an oil sheen in a city storm water ditch. So, that employee contacted authorities. Some of that sheen made its way to the Ship Channel.

Crews with the Refinery Terminal Fire Company, the Texas Commission on Environmental Equality and the Texas General Land Office have arrived on the scene. According to Flint Hills Public Affairs Regional Manager Andy Saenz, the sheen has been contained but crews are trying to determine where the oil is coming from.

"We’ve checked our outfalls but it’s not coming from us" Saenz said.

Outfalls are areas where refineries discharge clean fluid into the bay. Meanwhile, crews are looking for oil on other refinery companies docks so that they can determine where the oil is coming from.

Texas General Land Office spokesperson Brent Koza says GLO has two investigators on scene with TCEQ, working to determine the source and identity of the substance. 

Koza said the sheen appears to be from waste oil runoff due to recent heavy rains, but that a final determination won’t be made until samples are collected and analyzed. 

"There is a sheen on the water. Environmental is looking into it." said Rosie Collin, the Port of Corpus Christi’s Director of Community Relations.

Meanwhile, KRIS 6 News has contacted the RTFC and was told the chief would call us later with an update.

This is a developing story, and more information will be reported as it becomes available.