New research places Texas higher on the list of states with the most industrial discharges into waterways than the states that are located around the Great Lakes for the first time since the survey began in 2009.
It is not difficult to establish a manufacturing company in the state of Texas even if there is a substantial amount of liquid waste and no area that is suitable for dumping it. An analysis of the figures provided by the EPA reveals that the rivers in this state are open for business, which enables the disposal of enormous quantities of spent chemicals and garbage from industrial processes into the water system and, eventually, the ocean. A new study has been published by Environment America, a non-governmental organization based in Denver. The study reveals that Texas has the greatest rate of harmful discharges into streams, rivers, and lakes in the whole United States. The state of Indiana was formerly the holder of this title. The information utilized in the report came from voluntarily submitted forms from manufacturing firms to the Environmental Protection Agency. The total amount of dangerous materials released into the water of Texas in the year 2020 was 16.7 million pounds, which is an increase from the 13.2 million released in 2007.
According to Luke Metzger, who serves as the head of Environment Texas, the state’s chapter of Environment America, “Texas has a relatively liberal regulatory environment in which it is very easy to permit new polluting facilities and very difficult to get penalized for infractions.” This was stated by Mr. Metzger. “Environment Texas” is the state’s chapter of Environment America. They are self-assured in their conviction that “they can get away with anything.”
He asserted that the expenses of breaching pollution rules and paying the fines that resulted from those violations were so minimal that it was frequently still financially profitable for corporations to act in this manner.
Approximately ninety percent of all documented hazardous emissions from industry in the United States are produced by nitrate compounds. Nitrate compounds can be found in fertilizer runoff as well as in waste from industrial processes. The remaining components include compounds of manganese, heavy metals such as lead, and solvents such as tetrachloroethylene, methanol, and ammonia. Mercury and dioxin are only two examples of what are known as “persistent bioaccumulative toxics,” which are substances that can build up in the bodies of animals and people even after only minimal exposure.
There is evidence that many of these pollutants migrate from water sources such as lakes and rivers to commodities such as milk. One such water source is an example.
Every week, scores of applications for licenses to release industrial waste are submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. However, Texans are not provided precise information on the types of industrial pollutants that are being released into local water systems. This is a problem because these pollutants can have serious health consequences. Only the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory, which is based on self-reporting from polluters, allows you to search for toxic substances that were released into the environment by the largest polluters that are permitted.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) water pollution permit notices often refer to “industrial wastewater” or “process water” rather than diving into the specific hazardous components. On the other hand, information regarding the maximum quantities of acetaldehyde, polycyclic aromatic compounds, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers that can be discharged in the state of Texas is difficult to find online.
According to the statement, the government “authorizes treated wastewater effluent discharges and includes a technical assessment and implementation procedures” in order to make sure that discharges that are permitted come from facilities that are properly managed and maintained, and that these discharges will meet the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards. Monitoring for permit compliance is an essential component of the process of obtaining discharge authorization.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) received 52 applications for water quality permits in the previous month from Harris County, which is the most populated county in Texas and is home to Houston as well as the oil industry of the nation. The dominant industrial sector of the county was represented by many of these licenses, which included large refineries and chemical factories; nevertheless, the vast majority of these licenses were for residential wastewater and municipal utility districts. An application submitted by Oxy Vinyls, which describes itself as “a facility that manufactures polyvinyl chloride and anhydrous potassium hydroxide,” requested the right to discharge up to 105 million gallons per day. This figure includes up to two million gallons of “treated process wastewaters from polyvinyl chloride production and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) production.” (The TCEQ does offer a few different search possibilities for permits.)
Through Patrick Bayou, the Houston Ship Channel, and Galveston Bay, this waste will finally make its way into the ocean. As a result of the extremely high levels of pollution that are found at Patrick Bayou, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated the area as a federal Superfund site. Environment Texas has identified the state’s 20 most polluting facilities, 13 of which are chemical factories or petroleum refineries, and 15 of which are located on waterways in the coastal region, which is a large swath of ancient wetlands that drains quickly into the Gulf of Mexico. Environment Texas has ranked these facilities from most polluting to least polluting. The following five all relate to the processing of poultry in some way.
The company Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., whose deceased founder built his French castle on 43 acres in East Texas, is the largest polluter in the state of Texas. The manufacturing facility can be found in the nearby community of Mt. Pleasant. Pilgrim’s Pride is the top provider of processed chicken in the United States. The company operates various facilities across the country and is responsible for the production of seven unique brands of fried and prepared chicken items, some of which are served in school lunch programs. In the year 2020, the factory allegedly dumped 2.7 million pounds worth of nitrate compounds into Tankersley Creek. This information comes from a report compiled by Environment Texas. This brook ultimately discharges its water supply into Lake O’ the Pines.
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Two Valero refineries, one in the Houston neighborhood of Manchester and the other in Texas City, were the second and third most polluting facilities in the state of Texas in 2008, producing a combined 3.2 million pounds of water pollution. This included 685,000 pounds of hydrogen cyanide, 1.4 million pounds of acrylonitrile, and 22,000 pounds of 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene. These chemicals were among the most harmful to the environment.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Dow Chemical Company, located in neighboring Freeport, poured 31 different chemicals into the brackish Brazos River. These pollutants included 27,000 pounds of benzene, 2,400 pounds of ethylene oxide, and 193 pounds of hexachlorobenzene.
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