The Dow Chemical Plant in Hahnville experienced a chemical spill on Tuesday, leading residents of Southeast Louisiana to experience a myriad of physical ailments while nearby residents were forced from their homes.
Per a NOLA.com article, the spill/leak involved ethyl acrylate, “a chemical used in the manufacture of a wide variety of household and cleaning products.” The leak led to a horrific smell that carried all the way into the downtown/metro area as winds and storms carried across the state. According to reports, the plant was notified of the leak around 6 a.m. Tuesday morning and employees and cleanup crews worked through the night to control the matter. However, nearby residents are still unable to return to their homes.
The article further profiles concerns relating to the leak
St. Charles Parish authorities did not say what those safety concerns were, but officials say the chemical can cause nose and throat irritation, nausea or headaches.
Plant and parish officials have not said how much ethyl acrylate leaked after a vent on the 640,000-gallon tank apparently malfunctioned.
“We were getting calls from as far away as St. Bernard Parish,” said Anne Rolfes, executive director of The Louisiana Bucket Brigade, an environmental watchdog group.
The leak resulted when “the structure of the tank became an issue,” according to a Dow news release.
WWL TV reports today that “as of [this morning], Dow officials said they are still working to neutralize the chemical.” The article also features a helpful way for New Orleans, Hahnville and other area residents to keep informed on updates regarding this story:
Scott Whelchel, director of Emergency Preparedness for St. Charles Parish, said they have several ways of informing St. Charles Parish residents when they are notified of an alert: they post the information on their website, www.stcharlesparish-la.gov; they post updates on twitter at www.twitter.com/stcharles.gov; they broadcast the information on 1370 AM, the local AM radio station, and they also post the information on the St. Charles Parish government access channel, which is channel 6 on television stations in St. Charles Parish.
One thing very important to note
Parish officials say if the odor is stronger in your home than outside, you should air out your home by using fans to push the odor out. You also can set your air conditioner to stop pulling in air from the outside.
Attorneys at the Berniard Law Firm are still investigating the matter. This blog will follow updates as they become available.