BP Equipment Failure Fouls Texas City Air

The smell of rotten eggs descended on Texas City, Texas, after an equipment failure at BP's Texas City refinery on Monday, November 15.

According to BP spokesman Michael Marr, workers were performing maintenance work on a sour water compressor and noticed the foul smell after a piece of equipment failed. Texas City Homeland Security Director Bruce Clawson said officials believe the smell came from a leak of hydrogen sulfide, which is a hazardous chemical that smells strongly of rotten eggs.

Hydrogen sulfide is present in sour water, which is refinery waste water that is pumped into an enclosed sewer system for disposal. BP officials said one or two barrels of sour water spilled, causing the rotten smell.

The odor caused some businesses on Palmer Highway about 13 blocks from the refinery to close for more than an hour until the smell dissipated. Marr reported that a shelter-in-place order was briefly instated within the refinery for areas downwind of the leak. No shelter-in-place orders were made for the city, but Clawson issued a phone and e-mail alert to Texas City residents to notify them of the situation.

Clawson said that BP industrial hygienists and the Texas City Fire Department conducted ground-level air monitoring, but there were no readings of hazardous chemicals in the air. Additionally, BP set up an incident command center until the leak was contained around 9:00 pm.

While this incident was relatively minor, it is the latest in a string of more serious accidents at BP's Texas City refinery. Two fires occurred at the refinery in March 2004 and July 2005. In March 2005, an explosion killed 15 people and injured more than 170 others, and an August 2005 leak released thousands of pounds of flammable and toxic pollutants into the air. These incidents prompted the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate BP for violations of the Clean Air Act.

In fall 2010, BP agreed to pay a $15 million fine to settle charges filed by the Department of Justice over violations discovered by the Environmental Protection Agency. It was the largest fine ever assessed for violations of the Clear Air Act's chemical accident prevention regulations, and it also was the largest civil penalty recovered for Clean Air Act violations at a single facility.

Source: Possible Chemical Leak at BP Texas City Refinery, BP sends stink across Texas City

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Awards & Recognition

  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

    Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Their methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

  • Lead Counsel Rated

    In order to earn the Lead Counsel Rating, an attorney must not only demonstrate significant legal experience, but must also receive multiple peer recommendations advocating his or her ability. This is a key component in the screening process.

  • Texas Super Lawyers | Texas Monthly

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.

Get Your Free Case Review 713.587.9668

Let Us Help You Today! Request a Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented nearly 100 victims who suffered personal injuries and damages to property from a large fire and explosion resulting in a settlement of more than $50 million. The firm served as lead lawyers on the steering committee in this litigation.

  • $80 Million Personal Injury Large Plant Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 270 plaintiffs', taking a lead role in the plaintiffs' steering committee, who suffered injuries in a large plant explosion resulting in a settlement of nearly $80 million.

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Plant Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 45 personal injury victims in a plant fire and explosion, serving on the plaintiffs' steering committee, concluding with a settlement of more than $50 million.

  • $22+ Million Personal Injury Work Site Accident

    The firm prevailed in a personal injury trial for a worksite injury client with the jury returning a verdict and resulting in a judgment of over $22 million for the firm's client.

  • $12 Million Auto Accident 18-Wheeler Collision

    The firm successfully achieved a $12 million settlement for the family of a man who died in an 18 wheeler collision.

  • $30 Million Personal Injury Burn Victims

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $30 million.

Our Record Of Success.

When you are hurt and you choose a law firm to represent you in court or at the negotiation table, you need to carefully consider the firm's record.

More Success Stories