Mosquitoes Plague Those Working To Recover From Harvey

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Alexandra HartSeptember 13, 2017 7:13 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

n several Harvey-hit zones, officials are trying to wrangle the mosquito population. Late last week, the Texas Department of State Health Services announced an aerial mosquito control initiative. They’ve enlisted help from FEMA and contracted with pest control companies to begin spraying for the pests.

Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the department says that while disease prevention down the road is one concern,

Right now, the biggest issue is what’s called “nuisance mosquitoes.”

“So these are not mosquitoes that can spread disease, but you often seen them hatching out of flood waters anytime you have widespread flooding, and the concern really is that they can hamper recovery efforts,” Van Deusen says.

Basically, they’re just a pain.

They swarm people working to repair utilities, homeowners trying to clean up their property – anyone trying to work outdoors.

“You know if thousands and thousands of mosquitoes swarming around, that’s going to hamper those efforts, people aren’t going to want to be outside,” Van Deusen says.

He says residents can help mosquito control efforts by draining standing water around their property. For water that doesn’t drain, Van Deusen recommends treating it with a larvacide, available at home improvement stores.

The cleanup of chemical spills due to Hurricane Harvey continues in Houston and around the Gulf Coast That includes a leak of almost 500,000 gallons of gasoline from two storage tanks along the Houston ship channel.

Houston Public Media’s Ed Mayberry has more:

The August 31 spill of more than 461,000 gallons is the largest reported spill linked to Harvey’s floodwaters. The gasoline came from a Magellan Midstream Partners fuel terminal in Galena Park.

Magellan’s Bruce Heine says as soon as it was safe to get back on the property, several steps were taken.

“One included firefighting foam sprayed over the top of the product to prevent harmful vapors. And the other was to use containment devices. We not only contained but recovered the product that got into the Ship Channel,” Heine says.

Heine says soil from the affected area is being removed and will be taken to a hazardous waste facility.

Paula Plazas with Air Alliance Houston wants to see more transparency with risk management plans.

“Having that plan on file and having people informed, as well as government officials aware of what their plan is – the potential risks would lessen,” Plazas says.

The Associated Press has identified more than two dozen spills from fuel and chemical tanks that failed during Harvey. ExxonMobil, Valero Energy, Kinder Morgan and Phillips 66 all reported storm-related incidents.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced yesterday that anyone whose handgun license may have been lost or damaged in Hurricane Harvey can get a new one, free of charge.

In a news release, Abbott said “By eliminating burdensome fees to replace these important licenses, Texans can focus on rebuilding their lives and communities,”

Normally, the cost for a replacement license card is $25.