Air Quality Monitoring, Water Sampling Being Conducted in Response to Barge Accident

The Port of Houston and Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH) are currently monitoring the air quality in and around a barge accident that occurred around 3:30 p.m. Friday afternoon in Galveston Bay.

Preliminary air monitoring reports coming from air monitoring resources in cities of Kemah and Clear Lake Shores are not showing any actionable levels of concern in air quality. According to the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management, these air monitoring systems will remain in the area to continue monitoring air quality.

We are monitoring the incident in the Houston Ship Channel. Based on air quality readings near the incident site and wind direction, we do not anticipate an impact on the city of Houston. As always, unusual odors, fumes and other air quality concerns should be reported to 3-1-1.

The Bayport Channel Collision Response Unified Command has contracted crews working in the local area to conduct water sampling, shoreline assessments and, if needed, cleanup of any affected shoreline.

Waterfront property owners may see or be contacted by crews working along the Galveston Bay shoreline. These crews may request access to your property to do their work.

To verify their identity or if you have other questions, you may call the Unified Command at 281.757.3017. For additional information visit:

Barge Accident Details:

The Galveston County Office of Emergency Management (GCOEM) has confirmed that a barge containing reformate was involved in an incident with two other vessels. The collision occurred south of Morgan’s Point in the Houston Ship Channel. The United States Coast Guard is taking the lead on emergency response and Galveston County is assisting with all resources that may be requested.

Reformate is a chemical that is used as a blending additive to gasoline. It is flammable and toxic if inhaled, comes into contact with skin or is ingested.

Some residents are reporting a strong smell of gasoline. A gasoline smell does not necessarily mean there is a health hazard or harmful particles in the air and air monitoring is showing no concern for public health at this time.

Although preliminary readings show no actionable levels, if you are experiencing the smell of gasoline and are concerned, it is recommended that you use your best judgement and stay inside and avoid the coastlines along Kemah, Clear Lake Shores, Bacliff, San Leon, and League City, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions.

Stay Informed:

Galveston County has established two call centers to address public inquiries:

  • Galveston County Health District: 409.938.7221
  • Galveston County Call Center: 281.309.5005

For additional information visit: