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ITC Tank Fire

Oil Spill | Deer Park, TX | March 2019

What Happened?

On Sunday March 17, 2019, a storage tank caught fire engulfing much of the Second 80’s tank battery at the Intercontinental Terminals Company, LLC (ITC) Deer Park facility in Deer Park, Texas.

The fire was initially extinguished on March 20th, but reignited on March 22nd and damaged a second containment wall of the tank facility. 

This caused a catastrophic breach releasing an estimated 470,000 – 523,000 barrels of a mixture of fire water, different firefighting aqueous film forming foams, and oil products from the storage tanks into the environment. 

Oil and other contaminants flowed from Tidal Road and Independence Parkway ditches into Tucker Bayou, then Buffalo Bayou, and were carried by stream flow and tides into the San Jacinto River, Houston Ship Channel, Carpenters Bayou, Old River, and Santa Anna Bayou and other surrounding water bodies.

What Were the Impacts?

The spill potentially impacted an estimated 136 miles of shoreline and associated benthic, marsh, riparian, and beach habitats. Air quality was also impacted in the surrounding area, forcing the closure of roads, schools, parks, and causing shelter in place orders over several days for most of the Deer Park area. 

What's Happening Now?

On October 8, 2021 NOAA and our co-trustee partners released a Natural Resource Damage Assessment Plan to guide assessment activities related to releases of oil and other contaminants at the ITC Tank Fire site. 

The purpose of this Natural Resource Damage Assessment Plan is to help guide what methods the trustees will use to determine how natural resources were injured by pollution. This will ultimately help NOAA and our co-trustee partners identify what restoration may be needed to heal the environment to its original state. 

The public is encouraged to comment on the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Plan on the U.S. Department of the Interior website through November 8, 2021.

Please submit comments via email to Rita Setser at 

On April 2, 2024, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a proposed settlement valued at approximately $6.65 million to compensate for natural resource injuries resulting from a tank fire in Deer Park, Texas. The settlement would resolve the liability of Intercontinental Terminals Company, LLC—the responsible party—for damages to ecological services, loss of recreational services, and lost use of the damaged natural resources, as well as the cost of assessing those injuries. The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period open until May 8th, 2024, and final court approval. Please refer to the Federal Register notice for instructions on submitting public comments on the settlement. 

An overflight image of damaged tanks.
Members of the 2nd 80’s Response Unified Command continue to remove product from damaged tanks at the ITC Deer Park facility on March 27, 2019 near La Porte, Texas (Credit: U.S. Coast Guard photo by PA2 Johanna Strickland).


Bryand Duke, Ph.D.
NOAA Assessment and Restoration Division
Saint Petersburg, FL

Last updated April 9, 2024