State officials say preliminary slurry water samples pulled from the acre of swampland that liquefied into muck over the weekend indicate the presence of small amounts of diesel hydrocarbons.
The pond of muck, located in Assumption Parish, first appeared Friday night and grew quickly, bending a 36-inch natural gas pipeline buried 16 feet in the ground as the muck expanded. About 150 homes and several businesses were ordered to evacuate after Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency for the parish when the slurry area appeared to be expanding.
State officials say a stinky smell reported from Bayou Manchac last week stems from stagnant swamp water in Spanish Lake that heavy rains pushed into the bayou.
Rodney Mallett, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality spokesman, tells The Advocate in an email that inspectors reached that conclusion by tracking the flow of the water, visual observations and some field parameters.
Mallett said the stagnated water washed through Alligator Bayou to Bayou Manchac.
DEQ officials say the same phenomenon has occurred a few times a year for the past three to four years.
State officials want to know exactly when ExxonMobil Chemical Plant staff knew that the amount of released naphtha, which includes benzene, was much higher than originally reported in the wake of a June 14 spill at the Baton Rouge facility.
The Advocate reports the Department of Environmental Quality issued a compliance order and notice of potential penalty against plant that in part states the facility did not notify the state and other agencies when estimates of a leak amount June 14 substantially changed.
GEISMAR — A Houston-based chemical company contends it should not be penalized for a March plant fire at its vinyl chloride complex here because an unexpected and unprecedented chemical chain reaction touched off the fire.