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Timeline emerges for Dow Chemical leak in Hahnville

This morning’s Times-Picayune released a highly important timeline for the Dow chemical leak on July 7th in Hahnville, as well as provides insight into just how inattentive Dow may have been to the matter at the point of the leak and hours after. The article reports

The EOC’s telephone log from the early hours of that morning shows parish personnel wrestling with the decision of whether and where to close off River Road in Hahnville as Dow employees attempted to dampen the fumes.

The parish got the first indication that something was amiss at 3:57 a.m., when an employee at the Shell Chemical plant in Norco, across the Mississippi River, called the EOC and said he smelled an acrylic odor, but that no alarms had sounded at his plant.

Dow personnel initially said they didn’t smell the sharp acrylic odor that began wafting over the river toward Norco, but started to look into it.

They later found a fire alarm sounding in a tank holding ethyl acrylate that apparently had begun heating in a chemical reaction that led to the release.

By 4:56 a.m. Dow told the parish that it had the situation under control and was pumping water onto the tank.

But by 6 a.m., residents from Hahnville and New Sarpy were calling the emergency operations center about strong odors that were irritating their eyes.

In addition, the piece notes people are still being affected by the leak physically. It is advised that anyone experiencing health problems contact a health professional immediately. For those involved, we also recommend you looking into DowLeak.com for more information as it becomes available.