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South Texas Odor

Site Contact:
Idrissa Ouedraogo


Site Location:
Victoria, TX 77901
NRC#: 1388156

On January 4, 2024, at 12:14 PM, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) reached out to the EPA regarding a mystery ammonia-like odor occurring across 5 counties in the South Texas Coastal Bend area. EPA received two National Response Center reports related to the odor at 8:35 AM and 10:30 AM, and TCEQ was originally notified at approximately 7:00 AM. TCEQ stated that, based on their research, the odor was noticed by citizens around 10:00 PM the night before on January 3, 2024. TCEQ is investigating the source and substance causing the odor using roving and mobile air monitoring, and the information is still unknown. EPA staff, contractors and EPA’s Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology (ASPECT) plane have mobilized to the area and will coordinate with TCEQ to identify the source and substance.

EPA will also coordinate with the area’s Poison Center. Anyone experiencing any effects or impacts from the odor should contact the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.


*UPDATE 1/5/2024 8:00 AM

EPA staff and contractors arrived at Corpus Christi, TX at 5:30 PM on January 4, 2024. EPA coordinated with TCEQ and conducted roving air monitoring throughout the Corpus Christi, TX and Goliad, TX area using a MultiRae monitoring for volatile organic compounds (VOC) and a ToxiRAE Pro to monitor for ammonia. No readings above the minimum detection limit were recorded for VOCs or ammonia at any of the monitored locations.  EPA ASPECT arrived at Victoria, TX at 4:18 PM on January 4, and a set of 8 lines were developed southeast of Victoria, TX.  ASPECT was able to collect 4 data collection lines prior to rain, low ceilings, and low light conditions. No major detections were recorded, and the Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) did not make any detections. Infrared Line Scanner (IRLS) did show scattered low-level ammonia at the Invista facility. TCEQ has identified a potential source of the odor, and EPA will do further monitoring to verify the potential source. EPA and TCEQ are continuing to coordinate with the response.


*UPDATE 1/9/2024 11:00 AM

EPA continues to oversee the remediation and cleanup of the petroleum-based material from a tank at the Shamrock Victoria Port Terminal. The facility is implementing odor control measures on site as materials are removed. The spilled material included an additive called mercaptan, which has a very pungent odor that can be detected at extremely low levels. EPA will continue overseeing cleanup activities at the site until remediation is complete. Throughout the response, EPA’s air monitoring efforts have not detected any chemicals above levels of concern. The agency and its contractors will continue to conduct air monitoring as necessary.


On the evening of January 3, 2024, responders in the Victoria, Texas, area discovered a spill at a tank farm at the Shamrock Products terminal in Victoria, Texas, after receiving reports of a strong odor from area resident. Shamrock reported the spill to the National Response Center. An estimated 500 barrels of slop oil containing spilled after a truck hit a tank valve. EPA teams arrived on the afternoon of January 5 to monitor for oxygen (O2), lower explosive limit (LEL), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) using handheld MultiRAE Pro devices. If this method showed a sustained reading of 1 part per million (ppm) or greater for VOCs, the team would then monitor specifically for benzene using separate, more sensitive equipment. The incident-specific action level for VOCs is 1.0 ppm and 0.5 ppm for benzene; however, during the assessment, no readings were detected above background, although a strong pungent odor was present.