PORT NECHES, Texas — As the fire continues burning and smoke billows from the TPC Plant in Port Neches following an explosion Wednesday morning, officials from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality are are the scene monitoring air quality.
TCEQ is conducting handheld monitoring and providing information to Unified Command.
"Regional staff are continuing to conduct handheld monitoring outside the evacuation zone with Ultraraes," TCEQ said in a news release Wednesday. "This handheld equipment provides instantaneous readings for various compounds including volatile organic compounds, benzene, lower explosive limit, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, radiation."
TCEQ contractors are en-route and will also provide air monitoring support, according to the news release.
"All data will be provided to local officials through Unified Command for them to make important decisions on warnings and evacuations," TCEQ says.
TCEQ says there has been no impacts to water quality.
According to Mike White, the Jefferson County Emergency Management coordinator, there are a couple of chemicals housed at the facility.
His crew is treating it like it's the most serious, Butadiene. It is a colorless gas with a gasoline-like odor, used to produce synthetic rubber products like tires, plastics and other chemicals.
Long-term exposure has been associated with cardiovascular disease and cancer. That's why the air quality will continue to be monitored.
Port Arthur has a shelter in place for all residents north of Hwy. 73. All residents within a half-mile radius of the plant have been evacuated.