Mysterious powder coats cars near Texas City refinery

TEXAS CITY, TX (KTRK) -- Residents in Texas City, La Marque, Bayou Vista and Omega Bay woke up to thin sheets of mysterious white powder blanketing their cars and lawns.

"It is everywhere," said Sylvia Pinson. "It's on our cars, it's all over the plants, the trees, the streets, the roofs. It's on our sidewalks, it's on our decks, it's on our deck furniture. It's also on our rails, our steps; Everything is covered in this white powder."

The powder apparently came from Marathon Petroleum's Galveston Bay Refinery. Marathon says the primary content is silica sand and aluminum oxide, which came from a spent catalyst release at a cracking unit. The Texas City Office of Emergency Management says testing indicates there is nothing toxic in the area. In large quantities, however, the white powder could irritate your skin.

"I can't climb up on this roof (to clean it up)," said Jim Frnka. "And I'm sure it's going to be expensive. So, we're at the mercy of whatever and whoever is going to take care of this -- if they're going to take care of it. And, it's the whole neighborhood, it's not just us."

Officials suggest you spray off the powder with a water hose. If you need help call Marathon or the Texas City Office of Emergency Management.

Texas City Emergency Management just posted this message on Facebook: "Marathon GBR has an incident management team in place and is prepared to assist those individuals affected by the release yesterday with clean-up. If you need assistance, please contact Ruth Rendon at 409-949-3122."
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