Chemical odor reported in St. Bernard, Jefferson Parishes - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Chemical odor reported in St. Bernard, Jefferson Parishes

Approximate location of the Rain CII plant, Valero Refinery and Chalmette Refinery (Google Maps) Approximate location of the Rain CII plant, Valero Refinery and Chalmette Refinery (Google Maps)

State environmental quality officials are monitoring the air in the Chalmette area after a foul odor was reported there and in nearby communities Thursday night.

FOX 8 News received this press release from the Dept. of Environmental Quality Friday:

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality has deployed its Mobile Air Monitoring Laboratory and other resources to the Chalmette area in St. Bernard Parish in response to odor concerns that began yesterday evening.

An inquiry was called into on Thursday night by the St. Bernard Fire Department regarding strong odors and a plume emitting from the vicinity of the Valero Refinery, Rain CII plant and Chalmette Refinery in Chalmette. DEQ environmental staff teams were deployed and are currently conducting air monitoring within the neighboring community in order to determine the origin of the odor and ensure public safety.

Monitoring by both DEQ and facility teams are ongoing at this time

To report an environmental issue or concern, citizens may contact DEQ's SPOC line at 1-888-763-5424, or submit an inquiry online through the DEQ Web site at: http://www.deq.louisiana.gov/apps/forms/irf/forms/.

Several residents in St. Bernard and Jefferson Parishes reported the chemical odor Thursday evening.

Chief Thomas Stone of the St. Bernard Fire Department says he first smelled the odor around 7:00 p.m.  He describes it as a "strong petroleum smell" and he says he immediately suspected that it might be coming from the Rain CII chemical facility in Chalmette.  But Stone says Rain CII officials denied putting out any emissions that might generate such an odor.

Emergency officials in Jefferson Parish reported the odor in the Terrytown community and said it was irritating some residents' eyes and throats and causing some breathing difficulties, though they have not given any specific numbers.  Chief Stone reported no medical emergencies in St. Bernard as a result of the smell.

A response team from the Department of Environmental Quality arrived late Thursday night at the Rain CII facility on W. St. Bernard Highway to conduct air testing.

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