DEER PARK, Texas – At Katie’s Seafood Market in Galveston, workers have been selling freshly caught seafood for more than 25 years and right now business is booming.
For Nick Gutierrez, manager of Katie’s, his entire life has revolved around the marine life that thrives in Galveston Bay, one of the premier fishing grounds in the country.
But now, days after a huge fire broke out at Shell’s Deer Park Chemical Plant, Nick is very concerned about the wastewater runoff from that fire that Shell has funneled into the Houston Ship Channel. Sometimes water was driven into the ship’s channel at a rate of 11,000 gallons per minute.
SEE ALSO: 9 contractors released from hospital after Shell Chemical Plant fire in Deer Park
Shell stopped dumping that wastewater into the canal on Monday, but has restarted it.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced in a tweet, “We are aware that Shell has restarted the discharge of sewage into our ship’s channel in light of the rain. We are making sure that the regulations are being followed and that this is the best possible course of action.”
We are aware that Shell has restarted the discharge of waste water into our ship channel in the light of the rain. We are checking that the regulations are being followed and that this is the best possible course of action. See the water and air quality samples we are collecting @ https://t.co/ainGTARVaX
—Lina Hidalgo (@LinaHidalgoTX) May 9, 2023
Nick, whose two brothers are both fishermen in the seafood industry, says he fears any kind of detrimental effect, particularly on the shrimp population in Galveston Bay, would be devastating to local shrimp.
“I hope everything will be fine and it won’t kill tons of shrimp, fish and oysters. Shrimp must land all the shrimp they can at this time. They are already struggling. They don’t need any of this,” Nick said.
Also watching the situation closely are AJ Forasiedi and his friend June Lee, who both live in Galveston and practically live on fresh seafood.
“I’m afraid it will eventually affect the fish in Galveston Bay. I don’t want him to, but I’m afraid he will,” AJ said
Shell officials said they are continuing to test water in the area along with the Harris County Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Pollution Control.
SEE ALSO: Fire reignites at Shell chemical plant in Deer Park
Shell Chemical Plant discharges fire wastewater into ship channel; Here’s how experts say it could impact marine life
Deer Park residents say a loud rumbling kept them awake Friday night after the Shell Chemical Plant fire
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