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Robstown resident concerned there may still be trouble following March chemical spill

Posted at 8:31 PM, Apr 17, 2023

ROBSTOWN, Texas — On March 27, Corpus Christi Fire Department (CCFD) and several other crews attended to what initially was thought as a gas leak. It prompted a shelter in place order for a couple hours.

It happened between Calallen and Robstown in the area of CR 52 and CR 48.

Living of of FM-1889 Myra Alaniz was one of those affected by the smell of mercaptan. It's the chemical usually added to natural gas since it's odorless and colorless.

“Anyone who was here could feel issues with their breathing and tightness in their chest and the fumes were really bad," she said. "So we left. We checked into a hotel that night.”

Alaniz returned in the morning to her home, which she said still smelled of mercaptan on the inside.

CCFD traced the smell to the area behind a business just south of CR 52 along I-69.

The City of Corpus Christi was unavailable for an interview, but we spoke with one official who assured that the situation was handled.

It turned out to be an incidental chemical spill that got into the soil behind that business. The business responsible hired a third party to clean it up according to direction from the Texas Commission on Environment Quality.

But Alaniz believes there’s still a problem.

“We hadn’t smelled it until yesterday (Sunday) evening, it started about 6 o' clock we started smelling that same smell,” she said.

Alaniz said the smell intensified an hour later and she decided to call 911. Her call log shows she made the call although, the city official said they don’t have any record of a call coming in about the smell.

All Alaniz said she wants is more streamlined communication from the city.

"Do we have to go through this another time where we have to sit around waiting for them to tell us that it’s safe or unsafe when we can feel that it’s not safe?” said Alaniz.

The city official said any residents with concerns can call the 311 line and they may be directed to the city official that can best answer their questions.

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