Houston Ship Channel/Upper Galveston Bay:
A TMDL Project for Dioxin and PCBs in Fish Tissue
The State of Texas currently requires water quality in various parts of the Houston Ship Channel and Upper Galveston Bay to be suitable for contact and noncontact recreation, fishing, navigation, industrial water supply, and aquatic life; however, not all of these segments are required to support all of these uses. Fishing is not supported in the area as a result of a seafood consumption advisory (ADV-3) for catfish and blue crab issued September 1990 by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The advisory was issued to protect consumers from adverse health effects caused by dioxin found in specimens analyzed from the area. Dioxin is a generic term for a suite of toxic and environmentally persistent compounds.
Subsequently, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were detected in fish tissue, and the DSHS issued consumption advisory ADV-20 in October 2001, for all species of finfish in much of the Houston Ship Channel. In January 2005, the DSHS issued another advisory related to PCBs, ADV-28, for speckled trout, also known as spotted seatrout or spotted weakfish, in Upper Galveston Bay and a large percentage of the Houston Ship Channel. An additional advisory, ADV-35, for gafftopsail catfish and speckled trout in Galveston Bay was issued in 2008 for dioxin and PCBs. More information about seafood advisories can be found on the DSHS website: www.dshs.state.tx.us/seafood
Ron Stein, TCEQ