In response to the widespread and unprecedented flooding from Hurricane Harvey, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is working swiftly and diligently to help communities assess damage, manage debris, and bring critical services back online, including water and wastewater. TCEQ estimates that more than 500 agency staff are directly involved in Hurricane Harvey response efforts.
In advance of the storm, TCEQ staff worked with industry to safely shut down facilities. The TCEQ’s Superfund Program took steps to secure state sites in the projected path of the hurricane by removing drums with waste, shutting down systems, and so forth. TCEQ and U.S. EPA experts from around the state are traveling to the areas hardest hit by the storm. In line with the Governor’s directive, TCEQ has made restoration of water and wastewater services a priority. Once flood waters have receded and it is safe to enter flooded areas, debris removal activities will begin.
ECOS is pleased to learn that Bryan Shaw of Texas is receiving calls from fellow ECOS members offering support. Given the natural disaster experience of other environmental agency leaders around the country, sharing of resources and lessons learned is one of the many values of the ECOS network. If your state would like to share with ECOS staff any natural disaster-related transferable experiences, lessons learned, or suggestions of innovative ways to share resources during the recovery phase, please email Layne Piper.