Stolthaven Chemical Plant May Have Leaked 191,000 Gallons During Hurricane Isaac

Sep 14, 2012

The state Department of Environmental Quality is checking a report that as much as 191,000 gallons of toxic material may have been released during Hurricane Isaac from the Stolthaven chemical facility in Braithwaite. The company made the estimate to the Coast Guard’s National Response Center.

The chemical and storage facility next to the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish was hit hard by the storm. Company officials have said the transfer terminal had about seven feet of floodwater, but they now estimate it could have been twice as high.

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade says the damage shows the company is not prepared for floods — as it should be — and equipment is poorly maintained. It says the state isn’t forcing compliance.

A DEQ spokesman says the estimate reported by the company is a “worst-case scenario for potential releases,” and state is investigating exactly what leaked, and in what amounts. Federal and local agencies are also involved, and are planning to take soil samples.