Barge collision spills gasoline in Houston Channel


No injuries were reported from the incident.

A busy commercial waterway near Houston remains partially closed following a collision involving four vessels that caused a toxic gasoline product to leak into the water. Reformate is toxic to marine life. Port Houston Fire Department fireboat plus oil spill response, air monitoring and salvage personnel are responding, the Coast Guard said.

League City said air monitoring is being conducted by Bayport Channel Collision Reponse, which provided the report below.

Residents in cities close to the collision site have reported that a strong gas odor.

"We are continuing to work with the Coast Guard and the other federal regulators to understand the cause of the incident and will be working to recover any of the spilled product and mitigate the impact on the environment", Guidry said.

While one of the barges has lost about 9,000 barrels of reformate, the capsized vessel hasn't leaked any cargo at this time, he said.

Nine U.S. oil refineries that process 12 percent of the national total operate along the ship channel. "An unknown amount of product has been released from the damaged barge", an earlier Coast Guard statement said.

"It be a light chemical and it floats on the water, which permits it to evaporate", Galveston Bay Foundation CEO Bob Stokes knowledgeable KTRK.

In March, a fire at a petrochemical tank farm along the waterway burned for days, sending black smoke into the air and spilling fuel and solvent into the channel, disrupting ship traffic for weeks.

Officials say the tested samples of Reformate don't pose a risk to local residents at this point and the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health is now monitoring nearby communities. Ships were moving outbound on Sunday.