UNIDENTIFIED CHEMICAL STENCH, HAZE DRIFTING ACROSS TOWN OFFICIALLY NO CAUSE FOR CONCERN Suggested and mandatory restrictions on hanging around outside were issued by the Memorial Village area’s fire department and by Katy ISD respectively for a while this morning, in response to the acrid odor and haze blowing in some 40 miles across the city from somewhere near the Ship Channel. The Houston emergency response folks say that their monitoring has turned up no air quality red flags, but that anyone who can avoid the stink should probably do so just in case. The particular origin and composition of the odor also still seems to still be up for debate this afternoon: The Albemarle facility at 13000 Bay Park Rd. (shown above) called into the CAER hotline this morning to report that they might be releasing natural gas odorizer throughout the day as their gas facilities got worked on, and LyondellBasell’s Sheldon Rd. facility also sent a message to the CAER line that they would be conducting flaring today in response to a “unit upset,” but no official suspects have been named by the city. The extent of the odor’s inland spread is notably broader than last month’s quickie Valero tank overfill stench incident in Manchester: KHOU reports that some of its viewers on the southeast side of town started calling in about the smell around 10 am, and that “by 11 a.m. the smell and an apparent haze covered most of downtown Houston and the west side, with some reports from as far north as Bush Airport.” [KHOU; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Albemarle facility at 13000 Bay Park Rd.: April R.
Nestlé Waters of North America, distributors of the Ozarka, Arrowhead, Calistoga, Ice Mountain, Poland Spring, Zephyrhills, Nestlé Pure Life and — yes — Deer Park brands of drinking water, has chosen to set up its next bottling operation at the corner of Bay Area Blvd. and Red Bluff Rd. But the nation’s largest bottled-water company isn’t simply seeking a Pasadena address for the convenience and caché that undoubtedly comes with the location — close to the port and just a few miles south of the city’s famed refineries and sewage-treatment plant. Nestle has also worked out an agreement with the city to use water from Pasadena’s Southeast Water Purification Plant, which is located just northeast of Ellington Field. By next year, the company plans to have 3 separate manufacturing lines in operation, each staffed by 50 employees, bottling water in a new 312,000-sq.-ft. space it’s leasing in Pasadena’s Republic Distribution Center.
Photo of Republic Distribution Center I, 10525 Red Bluff Rd.: A&B Properties
IF THE SILO’S ROCKIN’, DON’T COME A-KNOCKIN’ The strange noises and clouds that’ll be emerging over the next 6 months from the Bayport Polymer plant at 12001 Bay Area Blvd., a few miles south of the La Porte Municipal Airport, are nothing to worry about, LyondellBassell wants you to know. Just a little demolition work: “Periodically during the coming months, people close to the facility might detect rumbling noises, loud thuds, vibrations or dust clouds. ‘We will continue to communicate to our community in advance via the CAER Line, CAP groups and E-Merge/E-Notify when work is being done that our neighbors might notice. We apologize for any inconvenience this situation may cause,’ stated a company press release.” [Bay Area Citizen]
IKE TURNS HERE Apparently, some sort of storm is headed this way. If you live in the 77507, 77058, 77059, 77062, 77520, 77546, 77571, 77586, or 77598 zip codes, here’s a little advice: Surfing Swamplot for real-estate news is probably not the best use of your time right now. How about a little gettin’-out-of-town-ing instead? There’ll be plenty of time to gawk at photos of soggy homes right here — after we’ve been soaked and the power comes back on. On the other hand, all you shelter-in-place people: How’s the installation coming along on those foundation bolts and jacks? Got any tips for turning decorative shutters into something . . . useful? And who’s been buying up all the toilet paper? [Houston Chronicle]