Coast Guard responds to tallow spill, closes section of Houston Ship Channel

HOUSTON – The Coast Guard and the Texas General Land Office are responding to a tallow spill in the Houston Ship Channel early Tuesday evening.

Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston received a report from the National Response Center at 3:49 p.m. that a shore-based storage tank was breached, causing approximately 250,000 gallons of beef tallow (animal fat) to spill. An estimated 15,000 gallons entered the Houston Ship Channel via a storm drain.

Roughly three quarters of a mile of the channel is closed from City Dock 16 up to the Buffalo Bayou Railroad Bridge – the most northern portion of the Houston Ship Channel.

The owner of the damaged tank, Jacob Sterns and Sons, has been notified and is working with the Coast Guard and Texas General Land Office. Garner Environmental Services has been contracted to conduct cleanups. Six boats are currently on scene to deploy boom around the affected area.

There is currently no inbound or outbound traffic being delayed and no refineries have been impacted. Due to the nature of the product, the environmental impact is expected to be minimal.

The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.

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