Most gas spilled by Harvey considered unrecoverable
Less than 20 percent of a 461,000-gallon gasoline spill in Texas during Hurricane Harvey was recovered by the company responsible, while the rest evaporated or soaked into the ground, a U.S. Coast Guard official said Thursday.
Only a minor amount of the spill appeared to have escaped the Magellan Midstream Partners storage tank farm in the Houston suburb of Galena Park, said Coast Guard Lt. Commander Jarod Toczko. It’s the largest spill reported to date from the storm that made landfall in Texas last month.
The Oklahoma-based company reported recovering about 2,000 barrels, or 84,000 gallons, of gasoline in the days after the Aug. 31 spill, Toczko said. It’s unknown how much of the fuel evaporated and how much seeped into the ground.
Gasoline is more volatile than oil, meaning it evaporates more quickly after it’s spilled. It’s also more likely to catch fire and can more rapidly penetrate the soil and potentially contaminate groundwater.
Magellan spokesman Bruce Heine said a cleanup of contaminated soil at the company’s facility should be completed within a few weeks. He estimated that less than five gallons of fuel reached a small waterway adjacent to the company’s property that drains into the Houston Ship Channel. The rest was contained onsite.