(U.S. Coast Guard) – The Coast Guard, along with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and partner agencies, are responding to reports of an odor that was in the vicinity of New Orleans, Wednesday.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received the report of an odor extending throughout parts of the greater New Orleans area, including parts of Jefferson, Orleans and St. Bernard parishes at approximately 5 a.m. Wednesday. Responders have been deployed throughout the area and coordinated an investigation in concert with other agency responders and employees from the Chalmette Refining, LLC, facility in Chalmette.
The facility reported and quickly stopped a leak early Wednesday morning and, while the investigation is still ongoing, officials currently believe it could be the source of the odor. The leak was contained to a unit at the refinery. Air monitoring was initiated immediately upon discovery, and all monitoring throughout the incident has indicated no detection of SO2, H2S or VOC emissions immediately beyond the vicinity of the leak source or at the fenceline.
Chalmette Refinery has worked with LDEQ and Coast Guard response teams most of the day to survey and evaluate all potential sources of odors in the area, including at the refinery. In addition, a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew conducted overflights of the affected area Wednesday afternoon.
“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.”
The company and agency will continue to monitor air quality until the integrated response effort concurs that the root cause of odors has been identified and eliminated.
Neighbors who have concerns are welcome to call Chalmette Refining, LLC, at 504-281-1212. A claims hotline has also been set up at 866-752-6339.
A Unified Command has been established with the Coast Guard, LDEQ and Chalmette Refining to mitigate any possible environmental impact of this leak.
The Chalmette Refining, LLC, team, the LDEQ and the Coast Guard are investigating the cause of the incident.