Power outage at Shell Deer Park facility causes flaring that could last days, according to company

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Sunday, March 24, 2024
Chemical plant power outage: Shell Deer Park facility loses power, causing flaring in East Harris County, officials said
The facility lost power sometime around Friday, which caused the flaring. However, in a statement sent by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the company has yet to reveal what chemicals are being burned.

DEER PARK, Texas (KTRK) -- Flames are visible for a third day at the Shell chemical plant in Deer Park after one of the units lost power Thursday.

Shell said the flaring, designed to relieve pressure at the plant, could last for another four to seven days as crews work to restore power.

They also said they want to minimize any noise, light, or smoke associated with flaring.

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The flaring could be seen on Houston TranStar cameras near SH-225 and La Porte near Underwood. The facility did not elaborate on if surrounding neighborhoods were impacted.

Flaring is said to be a key component in keeping the plant safe, the company said. Once flared, the hydrocarbon has been safely treated and the potential emission have been reduced by 98%.

However, in a statement sent by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo on Saturday, she said the county's pollution control department did not receive specific answers on exactly what chemicals are being burned.

Hidalgo says this incident shouldn't be accepted as "business as usual."

Deer Park residents Eyewitness News spoke with said flaring events are fairly usual at the city's chemical plants.

"I don't think they're gonna put anything in the air that they believe is gonna hurt someone. I really believe that," Phillip Freeman, who lives blocks from the Shell plant, said.

Freeman said the flaring creates extra noise and is highly visible from his home.

"You're sitting in the house and all of a sudden the house lights up. You know, you say, 'What in the world?'" he said.

The Harris County Office of Emergency Management and Pollution Control will continue to monitor the situation.

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