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Particulate matter in air increased slightly overnight near Houston Ship Channel

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Overnight air quality levels for particulate matter increased slightly-consistent with TCEQ's Air Quality Forecast [] in areas around the multi-tank fire at Intercontinental Terminals Co. in Deer Park.

General ambient levels of PM2.5 and PM10 Adobe Acrobat PDF Document near the Houston Ship Channel increased to the moderate level exit since the ITC fire began on March 17. While these concentrations went up, they have since decreased and have consistently remained below levels considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Sensitive populations should consider limiting their exposure to the ambient particulate matter by decreasing outdoor exercise or moving into air-conditioned buildings. All residents should avoid being directly in the smoke plume. If people experience health difficulties, they should consult with their doctor.

TCEQ is ensuring that the responsible party is taking all appropriate actions to address this incident. TCEQ continues to provide air monitoring in addition to monitoring being conducted by other entities, including ITC's contractor. Also, EPA's ASPECT airplane continues to provide air monitoring flights over the area.

In addition to TCEQ's extensive ambient air monitoring network in and around Houston, the agency on Monday, March 18, deployed two additional air monitoring stations to the area, and TCEQ staff is conducting hand-held air monitoring and overseeing collection of sampling in nearby waterways in coordination with the unified command.

See TCEQ's ITC Terminal Fire Incident webpage for updates concerning this response, including trending graphs and a map with real-time data from TCEQ's stationary ambient monitoring sites via GeoTAM.