4 illnesses reported in Corpus Christi consistent with exposure to Indulin AA-86

TCEQ has not confirmed illnesses linked to water contamination

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Four cases of illness have been reported in Corpus Christi consistent with exposure to Indulin AA-86.

The four people, who live in Zone 3 of the city, have experienced skin and intestinal issues that match those of exposure to the chemical, which is an asphalt emulsifier.

The city and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality have not confirmed the illnesses are linked to water contamination.

The tainted water is linked to a back-flow incident from a chemical tank Wednesday night.

KSAT 12 News reached out to TCEQ regarding the illnesses. It responded: “The calls are unconfirmed complaints of health concerns and each are being followed up. We cannot release more information based on privacy requirements. The reason for our notice is that all of them appear to be in areas where water restrictions are in place and people should not be using water.”

The TCEQ, the city of Corpus Christi and the Environmental Protection Agency are reminding everyone about the city zones, and who can drink or use water and who cannot.

Only Zone 1 (blue area) is allowed to use tap water for both consumption and other uses, like cooking or bathing.

Residents in Zone 2 (pink area) are allowed to use the water for non-consumption purposes, but it is not recommended that children or the elderly use the water at all.

No one should be in direct contact with water for any reason in Zone 3 (yellow area).

Valero on Saturday released this statement:

“While we are not the source of the contamination, we are actively assisting the City and other agencies in their efforts to restore water to the entire city. We provided truckloads of bottled water for residents, in particular, those who are homebound, and delivered water to homes in Dona Park and Academy Heights neighborhoods near the impacted line. We secured hotel rooms for charitable organizations in Zone 3 who provide shelter services, including Corpus Christi Metro Ministries, Salvation Army, Charlie’s Place, and Ronald McDonald House for their clients who may need rooms/showers.”

Valero also released a timeline of events:

Nov. 23 – Valero employees at the asphalt terminal administration building noticed rusty brown water at their faucet. They flushed their lines and the water cleared up.

Dec. 1 – Valero employees at the asphalt terminal administration building saw brown water at their faucet again and called the city. The city sent a technician who came out and flushed the lines and the water cleared up. The technician indicated he thought there was rust in the water. 

Dec. 2 – Valero continued to investigate the origin of the rusty water. Valero had no process connections that could have had caused backflow to the potable water line so they inquired with Ergon whether the issue could be related to Ergon operations.

Dec. 7 – Valero employees at the asphalt terminal administration building noticed milky, sudsy water at their faucet and called the city. The city sent a technician who flushed the lines and the water cleared up. 

Dec. 8 – Valero employees alerted Ergon to the issue and again asked if it could be related to Ergon operations.

Dec. 12 – Valero employees at the asphalt terminal administration building noticed milky, sudsy water at their faucet and called the city, including calling a city supervisor. The city sent a technician who flushed the lines and the water cleared up. Valero employees alerted Ergon to the issue and again asked if it could be related to Ergon operations. 

Dec. 13 – The city sent personnel to the Valero asphalt terminal and to Ergon. The city flushed the lines again.  Valero continued to work with the City to identify the source of the issue.  

Dec. 14 – The city sent personnel again and spoke with Valero and Ergon personnel. Valero continues to work with the city to investigate the issue.