PORT NECHES, Texas — The Port Neches Response team released asbestos air monitoring results Saturday, 24 hours after lifting an evacuation order following the TCP plant explosion and ongoing fires.
Testing in and around Port Neches shows "no measurable concentrations of airborne asbestos fibers", the response team said in a Saturday afternoon news release.
“Over the past 72 hours, TPC Group has engaged CTEH, environmental response specialists, to conduct air samplings surrounding the event site,” the news release said. “Air sampling continues to verify no measurable concentrations of airborne asbestos fibers.”
The explosion at the TCP plant caused pieces of debris to disburse beyond the borders of the plant.
Since the plant was built in the 1940s, emergency management officials warned that some of the equipment damaged during the explosion could contain asbestos. They were concerned that some of the equipment blown into nearby yards could be contaminated.
When Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick lifted the evacuation on Friday, he told residents to be on the lookout for white, chalky substances.
"There was some asbestos, either blanket, pipe covering or block that was installed. One of the vessels that was compromised and had an explosion could have blown that asbestos debris over the neighborhoods and into some yards," Branick said.
Branick says that if you find debris in your yard or notice that white, chalky substance to call the TPC hotline at 866-601-5880.
"(TPC) will come to your house and do air monitoring if you request it," Branick said. "Act with caution and watch out for other metallic debris that might be in your yard."
Some residents of Port Neches have reported debris and unknown substances around the Port Neches area.
Authorities are still urging residents not to touch or clean up any unknown debris. “Given the nature of asbestos, we have urged people not to try to attempt to clean up the debris themselves,” said the Port Neches Response.
If you see debris in your yard, you should call the Community Assistance Helpline at 866-601-5880 to file a claim.
Port Neches Response full news release…
News Release #7 Air Monitoring Yields No Results of Asbestos
Beaumont, Texas – Response measures are ongoing and Unified Command remains focused on mitigating the event and maintaining the safety of responders and the community. The fire at TPC’s Port Neches Operations is contained and significantly reduced. Unified Command is thankful for the continued support of emergency responders and community.
As residents returned to their homes yesterday, questions arose regarding debris found in homes and on property. The event at Port Neches Operations on Wednesday resulted in pieces of process equipment being projected beyond the fence-line. Some of these pieces may have included asbestos insulation. Over the past 72 hours, TPC Group has engaged CTEH, environmental response specialists, to conduct air sampling surrounding the event site. Air sampling continues to verify no measurable concentrations of airborne asbestos fibers. Given the nature of asbestos, we have urged people not to try to attempt to clean up the debris themselves.
CTEH will also conduct debris assessments and will be leading removal efforts. Specialists will be assessing homes and yards within approximately one-half mile of the TPC Port Neches Operations fence-line. Please be aware that the clean up specialists are required to wear protective clothing to remove debris beyond the fenceline. We expect assessments and clean up to begin immediately.
If you see debris in your yard, please call the Community Assistance Helpline at 866-601-5880 to file a claim.
Unified Command remains focused on protecting the safety of responders and the public and minimizing any impact to the environment. Updates and information continue to be posted on the web at www.portnechesresponse.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/portneches.response.1 and on Twitter at PortNechesUC.