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Gauging the Effects of Potential Chemical Transferal on High Flood-Risk Fenceline Communities

G. Newman1*, Z. Cai1, R. Zhu1, J. A. Horney2, S. Jang3, and W. A. Chiu3

  1. Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, 77843 USA
  2. Department of Epidemiology, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, 19713 USA
  3. Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, College Station, TX, 77843-4458 USA

*Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 979-862-4320. E-mail address: (G. Newman).


Hurricane Harvey demonstrated how natural disasters and changing environmental conditions can substantially increase pollutant releases from industrial facilities. Releases from such facilities in already flood-vulnerable communities will further exacerbate existing negative public health outcomes. In this study, we focus on the TX neighborhood of Galena Park, an underserved, fenceline community in the Greater Houston Area that suffers from frequent flooding and environmental justice issues, as well as being the location of the largest reported chemical spill after Hurricane Harvey in 2017. To help improve the resilience of this community to hurricane/flood-induced releases of contaminants, we analyzed geospatial data on flood risk related to storm surge as well as the current and future 100-year flood plain using advanced ArcGIS Dashboard operations. We then link these flood risks to vulnerabilities to flood-induced contamination releases through proximity to environmentally-regulated facilities.

Keywords: contamination, environmental justice, environmental performance, flood resilience, geographic information systems, urban analytics

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