Dow chemical leak smell may return in coming days

Dow-Hahnville’s chemical leak may be a returning reality for residents of Southeast Louisiana with bad weather looming. As the 10-day forecast shows thunderstorms in the New Orleans area’s future, area officials are warning the smell associated with last Tuesday’s chemical leak by the Dow company may return. Per the Times-Picayune,

Stormy weather passing through St. Charles Parish may increase odors from the Dow Chemical ethyl acrylate tank, parish officials said in an recent e-mail alert to residents.

Dow is taking continuing actions to suppress these odors, but residents should call the parish Emergency Operations Center at 985.783.5050 to report an odor.

While this seems unhappy enough news already, a press conference yesterday revealed the Dow chemical leak may be bigger, and more severe, of a problem than first thought. A local activist group brought to the media’s attention that leaks have been occurring over several months at the Hahnville plant and leaves a lot for Dow to answer for. Within the same Times-Picayune article is the following

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade said citizens need to be aware of how much of the chemical, which can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, was in the air during the early hours of the incident, which began sometime around 4 a.m. on July 7.

“Dow has tried to play down this release by calling it a bad odor,” said Anna Hrybyk, the organization’s program manager. “The facts show that people were treated at the hospital because of this accident and that Dow has a serious, ongoing problem with this chemical.”

The group held a press conference in St. Charles Parish at the West Bank Bridge Park in Luling earlier today to discuss the incident.

In addition to last week’s incident, the company reported airborne releases of fumes from the chemical on Oct. 20, 2008, April 22, 2009, and July 2, 2009, Hrybyk said, citing the organization’s inspection of Department of Environmental Quality records.

This mess just keeps getting worse. As always, this blog can be considered a source for news and updates on the matter as they become available so feel free to Bookmark the site for future reference.

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