By Eli Poore
Eli is an UU young adult, a seminarian at Starr King School for the Ministry, and member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Corpus Christi.
It was December 13th, and I stepped into my shower before heading to bed. As someone who is fond of a nice hot shower before bed, I took my time, letting the hot water run over my skin, warming me up after a cooler day in my usually warm South Texas coastal city. I recall noticing a slightly odd chemical smell, but brushed it off, attributing it to the less-than-ideal state of our city water system and some recent rains. Nothing out of the ordinary, really.
The next day, I awoke to find that our city government leaders had issued a city-wide tap water ban the night before. As we heard the news, a collective groan arose from my family.
This time, however, the situation was different. We were informed by city officials that our water was not safe to use to drink, bathe, or wash any clothing. The reason for this? A suspected contamination of a “petrochemical material” due to a back-flow issue at a local refinery. At that point in time, the name of the chemical was not released, nor the name of the company involved. A couple of days later we find out the company was a contractor with Valero energy, a company named Ergon Asphalt and Emulsions. The chemical name, Indulin©-AA86.
"Citgo knowingly operated uncovered storage tanks containing highly toxic chemicals such as benzene for a ten year period"