Spill at Valero Refinery in Texas City causes nasty odors

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Texas City residents wake up to foul order from Valero plant, Deborah Wrigley reports. (KTRK)

Residents in Texas City are dealing with some strong odors in the area after a spill at a refinery, but there's not expected to be a threat to public safety.

When Jan Grady woke up, she says she smelled something.

"It's something to do with the plants(refineries)," she said. "There's always an odor, but this one was really foul."

According to the Texas City Emergency Management Office, the Valero Refinery had a tank overfill of a naptha product early Monday morning, resulting in a strong hydrocarbon odor. Officials describe it as a nuisance odor, with no immediate danger to health.

"I smelled something burning like a toaster. I don't know. It smells weird," said Jasmin Garcia.

The smell drifted across the area overnight and the smell persisted throughout the day, depending on wind.

Valero sent a statement announcing it was in the cleanup phase of the tank overfill incident and that the product was contained.

Grady complained of respirator issues that she believed were linked to the incident.

"It was almost like a severe allergy attack. My throat was hurting, my chest, it just felt generally nasty," she said.

The city's OEM coordinator said no siren warning was issued because it is reserved for catastrophic events. No shelter in place alert through automated calls was sent because the incident happened in the middle of the night, when people are already inside their homes.

Instead, a noxious odor notice was posted on the OEM Facebook page with a statement and updates from Valero.

The last update from the company told residents to expect the odor and would "be emitting from the incident throughout the day, and possibly tomorrow."
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chemical spillTexas City
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