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The 7 worst neighborhoods near refineries

By: Shea Gunther on Feb. 3, 2010, 12:40 p.m.
Texas City, Texas

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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Texas City, Texas

Texas City is 40 miles down the highway from downtown Houston and across the water from Galveston. The small city of 41,000 has a busy deepwater port and three oil refiners, one of which is the nation's third-largest.

BP's refinery in Texas City processes 455,790 barrels of crude oil a day. The Valero refinery goes through another 199,500 barrels, and the Marathon refinery handles 76,000.

In 2005, an explosion at BP's refinery rocked homes and businesses up to five miles away, breaking windows over a mile from the plant. It was the largest oil refinery disaster in more than a decade, killing 15 and injuring more than 100. It was large incident, but not an isolated one. Between 2003 and 2004, the BP plant had 57 fire alarms, which, according to Texas City Fire Department chief Gerald Grimm is about par for the course for plants of that size.