We’re off to a good start already with voting in the first 3 categories of this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate: Ballots for Favorite Design ClichÃ©, Best Demolition, and the “Where Are They Now? Award opened last week. Now, which of the candidates will clean up in the Best Industrial Incident category?
As with all of this year’s award categories, there are 4 ways to vote for your favorite nominee. (You can even do all 4, if you’re really enthusiastic about a candidate!) Vote byÂ leaving a comment below, by sending us an email, and by blastingÂ your choices to Facebook andÂ Twitter. Don’t forget to sendÂ your friendsÂ to the polls, too — justÂ be sure you allÂ get your choicesÂ in by 5 PM on Tuesday, December 27th.Â Check out this year’sÂ complete voting guidelines, if you need a refresher on the specifics.
What qualifies a nominee as a strong contender for Best Industrial Incident? Was it the most visually stunning event? The one that touched the most Houstonians? Or the one with the most interesting fallout? That’s up to you — now check out the official nominees:
1. Holmes Road Recycling Plant Fire, November 16th. That’s some serious distance and impeccable aim, for a burning debris pile: â€œFrom 3 miles away, the fire managed to shroud the Medical Center in smoke probably worsened by burning car fluids,Â while spreading haze and weird smells all the wayÂ across the Loop to theÂ Near Northwest.â€
2. 4-Alarm Chain Reaction Spring Branch Warehouse Fire, May 5th. A case for knowing your neighbors: “A backyard auto shop caught fire, which jumped over to the nextdoor chemical repackaging warehouse, triggering Michael Bay-esque fireballs next to to a gun and ammo shop, and a plume of ambiguously toxic smoke about a quarter mile from an elementary school, which was evacuated.“
3.Â Spring Branch Creek Turns BloodÂ Red, May 5th.Â Hey, maybe not as red as it could’ve: “The poorly inventoried runoff from that burning chemical storage warehouse turned the water in a nearby drainage channelÂ leading to Spring Branch Creek bright red, thanks to aÂ petroleum additive that local cleanup folksÂ tried to skim off — while whatever else was in the warehouseÂ continued downstream,Â killing off fish and animalsÂ on the way to Buffalo Bayou. The county said Spring Creek was lucky, however — all that floodingÂ right beforehand probably helped dilute some of theÂ toxins.”
4. Opening of the 26thÂ TCEQÂ investigation into the Shadow Creek Ranch smell, March 4th.Â A stench mystery, repeatedly unsolved: â€œIt’s not a single incident, exactlyÂ (or maybeÂ it counts as 1 long, ongoing incident),Â but as of early March there had been over 2Â dozen investigations launched to try to figure out where the recurrent andÂ sometimes-nauseating stench is coming from —Â none of whichÂ officiallyÂ pinned it the giant and growingÂ Blue Ridge Landfill next door, nor even proved that there wasÂ an actual nuisance.“
5. Oil drops below $27 per barrel, January 20th. A flooded market can leave a mark on a city, too:Â Â â€œI would argue that the collapse of oil prices probably did more damage to Houston (and the energy industry) than any release of toxins, fire, or flood.â€
6. Ambiguous Tax Day Wastewater Treatment PlantÂ Flooding, April 17th.Â When throwingÂ shit out in the open gets it pulled back under wraps: “Aerial photos of inundated wastewater treatment plantsÂ — not an unheard-of occurrence — were among the images cited in the El Paso Times‘sÂ springÂ investigation into the apparent lack of state response to various kinds of flood-related chemical spills spotted from the airÂ in the last few years in public flyover photographs. The state’s response to complaints that theÂ agency wasn’t responding to the spotted spills was toÂ cut offÂ online access to the photo set, citing privacy concernsÂ — until the realization of how expensive it would be to handle FOIA requests for over a Â hundred thousand images caused them toÂ go back to the old system.”
Which of these nominees blew the others away? You chooseÂ — voting starts now!
- How To Vote in the 2016 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate
- Swamplot Awards Ballots 2016Â [Swamplot]
Images:Â Houston Fire Department (Spring Branch fire), Matthew HarkriderÂ (red water), Â Shadow Creek RanchÂ (Shadow Creek Ranch), NASDAQ.com (WTI graph), MOVES Public viewer (flooding along Brays Bayou),Chris KleschÂ (port-a-potty in Brays Bayou Tax Day floodwater), Â Swamplot inbox (all others)