Full reopening of Houston Ship Channel unclear after fire

MarketsAssociated Press

Image 1 of 2

In a Wednesday, March 20, 2019 photo, maritime traffic moves through the Houston Ship Chanel past the site of now-extinguished petrochemical tank fire at Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park, Texas. Air quality and water pollution from the fire's runoff, seen on the right, into the ship channel are some of the concerns in the aftermath of the blaze. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

The U.S. Coast Guard says it's unclear when the Houston Ship Channel will fully reopen as crews continue cleaning up chemicals that seeped into one of America's busiest shipping lanes following a fire at a petrochemical storage facility.

Continue Reading Below

Coast Guard Capt. Rich Howes said Monday that cleanup crews are making headway and that more than 2.5 million gallons of an oily water mixture has been removed.

Part of the ship channel was closed after a fire erupted March 17 at the Intercontinental Terminals Company facility in Deer Park. The fire burned for days and triggered air quality warnings. The closed portion was reopened but only during daylight hours.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says elevated benzene levels were detected over the weekend, but that residents are not in danger.