Environmental Engineering | Geology | Consulting
Environmental Engineering | Geology | Consulting
Working together, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality continue to coordinate with local, state and federal officials to address the human health and environmental impacts of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, especially the water systems in the affected areas. The TCEQ has approximately 500 people and EPA has 263 people assisting in response to this natural disaster.
As part of this coordination, a Unified Command was established between the EPA, the TCEQ, the General Land Office, and the U.S. Coast Guard to oversee all emergency response efforts. This Unified Command is supported by three operational branches in Corpus Christi, Houston, and Port Arthur. In addition to the EPA, the TCEQ, the GLO, and the USCG, multiple agencies and groups are supporting each of the operational branches, including the Texas National Guard, 6th Civil Support Team; the Arkansas National Guard, 61st Civil Support Team; the Oklahoma Task Force 1; and the Texas State Guard Engineering Group. Branch personnel are working to continuously monitor water and wastewater systems, as well as assess spills or discharges as a result of the storm.
As of Thursday, Sept 14, the following information is available:
Drinking Water: To date, about 2,238 drinking water systems have been affected by Harvey. Of those: 2,014 systems are fully operational, 77 have boil-water notices, and 19 are shut down. Both the EPA and the TCEQ are contacting remaining systems to gather updated information on their status. Assistance teams are in the field working directly with system operators to expedite getting systems back to operational status.
Wastewater and Sewage: The TCEQ has made contact with 1,219 wastewater treatment plants in the 58 counties within the Governor’s Disaster Declaration. Of those, 31 are inoperable in the affected counties. The agencies are aware that releases of wastewater from sanitary sewers are occurring as a result of the historic flooding and are actively working to monitor facilities that have reported spills. Additionally, the agencies are conducting outreach and providing technical guidance to all other wastewater facilities in flood-impacted areas. Assistance teams will continue to be deployed to work directly with system operators to expedite getting systems back to operational status.
On Sept. 12, the EPA approved the Texas Water Development Board proposed approaches to utilize State Revolving Funds from the EPA to address immediate recovery and future resiliency efforts in Texas.
Flood Water: Water quality sampling will be focused on industrial facilities and hazardous waste sites. Floodwaters contain many hazards, including bacteria and other contaminants. Precautions should be taken by anyone involved in cleanup activities or any others who may be exposed to flood waters. These precautions include heeding all warnings from local and state authorities regarding safety advisories. In addition to the drowning hazards of wading, swimming, or driving in swift floodwaters, these waters can carry large objects that are not always readily visible that can cause injuries to those in the water. Other potential hazards include downed power lines and possible injuries inflicted by animals displaced by the floodwaters.
Critical Water Infrastructure: The TCEQ has made contact with the owners of the 340 dams in the impacted areas. There are 15 dams that have reported some type of damage. There have been no reports of downstream damage or loss of life. The TCEQ will be meeting with affected dam owners in the next week.
Additional EPA/TCEQ updates include:
For additional information, please visit the TCEQ’s Hurricane Response website.
View the EPA Story Map about Hurricane Harvey Response activities.
On November 10, 2016, EPA released the final edition of the Information Collection Request (ICR) for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry. The key purpose of the ICR is to provide information to EPA in order to create new rulemaking under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) for EXISTING sources of Methane in the upstream and midstream oil and natural gas sectors.
Letters will be sent to operators via registered mail under Section 114 of the CAA and response will be mandatory for all recipients. Some changes from the draft ICRs includes a new deadline of 60 days to complete Part 1 Surveys and 180 days to complete Part 2 Surveys, moving some questions from the Part 1 Survey to the Part 2 Survey, splitting the Gathering and Boosting segment for ease of understanding, and changing the requirements for pressurized liquid sampling for separators with a throughput of more than 10 barrels per day.
Information on the ICR can be found here: https://www.epa.gov/controlling-air-pollution-oil-and-natural-gas-industry/oil-and-gas-industry-information-requests
The following information comes from EPA’s fact sheet :
What the Final ICR Covers
The operator survey will be sent to approximately 15,000 owners/operators in the oil and gas industry; the more detailed facility will be sent to approximately 4,650 owners/operators.
If you have any questions, contact Joe Pere at 512-474-9097 or Joe.Pere@Cook-Joyce.com.
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