Brownsville Spill Reported to TCEQ

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BROWNSVILLE - Brownsville city officials said cleaning the oil out of a resaca near Dana Avenue and Resaca Vista Drive will last until the area dries up.

A substance called AEP Emulsion washed from area road construction to a drainage ditch and into the resaca. The residue left a surface sheen easily mistakable for oil to some area residents. 

Officials said the substance has petroleum in it, but it doesn't pose a risk.

"It's not a hazardous material," explained Ruben Gonzalez, public works director for Brownsville. "Aesthetically, it does look bad. So we will do the cleanup but there should not be a fish kill or anything."

The emulsion is about 60 percent asphalt, according to Gonzalez. He said it's used to seal and bond asphalt to the base of roads.

On Wednesday, the TCEQ said they got a call from a resident who lives close to the resaca. The resident said they could see a sheen in a drainage ditch. TCEQ said they determined there was ongoing road construction in the area. That's when they began assisting Cameron County Public Works staff in response to the sheen. 

At this point, crews said they don't know how long it will take to clean the area or how much it will cost. CHANNEL 5 NEWS is told it will be cleaned by city-funded public works department employees.

TCEQ rules require people notify the agency as soon as possible, but no later than 24 hours after the discovery of a reportable spill or discharge. The reportable quantity for spills or discharges of petroleum products directly into water in the state is described as a quantity sufficient enough to create a sheen. The responsible person is required to  immediately abate and contain the spill or discharge. 

If you see a leak or sheen in your neighborhood, the TCEQ says they're available to help 24 hours a day through a hotline at 1-888-777-3186. The TCEQ Also has an online submission form.


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