Cleanup continues along Spring Branch creek after toxic runoff

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Cleanup continues after toxic runoff. (KTRK)

Five days after a four-alarm chemical warehouse fire forced an evacuation and released toxic chemicals into Spring Branch Creek, the cleanup continues.

The encouraging news is that no petroleum additives, which created what looked like a red river of lava in the creek, have been detected south of 1-10.

Upstream, oil booms are still stretched across the waterway, collecting residue from the fire, which has been identified, generally, as petroleum additives and pesticides. The pesticides dissolve in water and are believed to be responsible for wildlife casualties along the creek. Water monitoring continues checking for pesticide levels in the creek.

Texas Parks and Wildlife banned volunteers from collecting turtles and reptiles from the area to save them, because volunteers were trained in how to operate around toxic waste.

The creatures that were already collected were turned over to contractors who specialize in wildlife rehab, according to the agency. At least 20 turtles are now in state care. Their conditions not immediately known.

Crews are also weighing dead fish collected from the creek. Fish kills were reported within a few hours of the red water and foul smelling chemicals coming from Spring Branch Creek. The dead fish were bagged, and weighed, along with dead snakes.

The reason for the record-keeping is that the state will seek restitution for the loss of wildlife, which is considered state property. The restitution that's recovery will go toward improved wildlife habitat in the area.

So far, no birds have been found to have fallen victim to the spill, according to the state. Contaminated fish that they might have been tempted to eat were removed as quickly as possible to avoid birds being poisoned.

Cleanup will continue in the area for several more days, until the water is clean. Today, more turtles were collected near the creek. One of the more troubling recoveries was a rat found in the water, its body full of leisions from whatever chemical it may have come into contact with.

The wildlife that recovers, with the help of skilled rehabilitation workers, will be released back into the wild at a later date.

Related Topics:
toxic wasteHouston
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