Floodwaters topple 2 oil storage tanks in south Texas, spilling almost 30,000 gallons of crude

HOUSTON (AP) —State officials say floodwaters from Harvey toppled two oil storage tanks in south Texas, spilling almost 30,000 gallons of crude.

Burlington Resources Oil and Gas reported the spills in DeWitt County to the Texas Railroad Commission on Wednesday. They include a 16,170-gallon (385 barrels) spill near the town of Westhoff and a 13,272 gallon (316 barrels) spill west of Hochheim. That’s an area about 150 miles west of Houston.

It was not immediately clear if any of the spilled oil was recovered. About 8,500 gallons (200 barrels) of wastewater also spilled.

Burlington Resources is a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips. Company representatives did not immediately respond to telephone and email messages seeking comment.

More damage to oil industry infrastructure is expected to emerge as floodwaters recede.


Meanwhile, Houston officials say they are working to resume various city operations now that the flood waters from Tropical Depression Harvey have begun to recede.

Bus service and the city’s light rail system are set to resume on a limited basis starting on Thursday.

The city’s trash collection service resumed on Wednesday with heavy trash pickup. Regular trash pickup for the city was set to resume on Thursday.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says he wanted to ensure that trash removal services resumed as quickly as possible because “there will be a lot of debris.”

Most city employees are not set to return to work until Tuesday.


Houston Fire Department officials say they will begin doing a block-by-block search of neighborhoods that were flooded by Tropical Depression Harvey and had previously been inaccessible to authorities.

Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena says firefighters will begin searching neighborhoods in southwest Houston starting Thursday morning.

Assistant Fire Chief Richard Mann says the searches are being done to ensure that “no people were left behind.” Floodwaters in many parts of Houston have receded while other neighborhoods are still dealing with rising waters from bayous and other swollen waterways.

Mann says the fire department will conduct these searches throughout the city. Officials expect the process to take one to two weeks to complete.

Mann says since Harvey inundated the Houston area, the fire department has received more than 15,000 calls for service. He says the volume of calls has stabilized and the fire department is working to transition from rescues calls to a recovery mode.


The National Hurricane Center has downgraded Harvey to a tropical depression, but warns of continuing flooding in parts of Southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana.

In its Wednesday evening update, the hurricane center said Harvey is located about 10 miles southwest of Alexandria, Louisiana, and has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph.

The center said the threat of heavy rains has ended for the Houston and Galveston areas, but “life-threatening” flooding will continue in and around Houston, Beaumont, Port Arthur and southwest Louisiana.

Harvey is expected to produce an additional 4 to 8 inches of rainfall along the Texas-Louisiana line.