Six Houston-based refineries dump millions of gallons of contaminated wastewater with little penalty, report finds
According to a report produced by the Environmental Integrity Project, 81 oil and gas refineries around the nation dump almost 500 million gallons of toxic wastewater per day. Every day, six refineries in the Houston region discharge around 55 million gallons of effluent into nearby waterways. ExxonMobil Baytown, Pemex Deer Park, Valero Houston, Chevron Pasadena, LyondellBasell-Houston, and Kinder Morgan Galena Park are among those refineries. The pollution is released into the Houston ship channel, which ultimately drains into Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The EPA has never imposed any limitations for the discharge of dangerous contaminants such as selenium, cyanide, benzene, and mercury. When it comes to the EPA's regulations, corporations who violate these limitations seldom suffer financial consequences. From 2019 to 2021, 67 of the 81 refineries covered in the study reported enough pollutants to exceed their pollution control permits. Only 15 of the 67 were fined for water pollution breaches throughout that time period. Between 2019 and 2021, the Phillips 66 refinery in Sweeny, Texas, roughly an hour south of Houston, allegedly breached its emission standards 44 times. The majority of the infractions involved the discharge of cyanide into the Brazos River. Despite this, the corporation was only fined $30,000.