Leak at Chalmette refinery believed to be source of chemical smell in NO area

Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 11:00am

A lingering chemical odor throughout the New Orleans area is being attributed to a refinery leak. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the Coast Guard are currently investigating the cause of the incident.

People in Jefferson, Orleans, and St. Bernard parishes began reporting the smell on Wednesday, April 3 at roughly 5:00 a.m. Investigators quickly located a leak at a refinery as the possible cause of the smell. It was contained and air monitoring shows no detection of SO2, H2S or VOC emissions beyond the source of the leak.

“We apologize to neighbors for any inconvenience this leak incident may have caused,” said Chalmette Refining, LLC, Janet Matsushita, manager. “The health and safety of neighbors, community, and employees are our top priority.”

Air monitoring is continuing throughout the area to ensure the safety of nearby residents. However, they do believe the root cause of the smell has been contained.

Neighbors who have concerns can call Chalmette Refining, LLC, at (504) 281-1212. A claims hotline has also been set up at (866) 752-6339.

Chalmette Refining, LLC is located along the bank of the Mississippi River in a historically significant area that was originally part of the DeLaRonde Plantation. The initial refinery was constructed around 1915 and covers an area of approximately 400 acres.

Chalmette Refining, LLC has a capacity of approximately 190,000 barrels per day of crude oil. The refinery produces gasoline, diesel, kerosene, propane, butane, arom atics, fuel oil, refinery grade propylene, sulfur, petroleum coke and asphalt.

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