By Molly Brackin, Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist
At 2 PM on Friday, October 25th Valero Refinery in Meraux, LA reported a discharge of crude oil from a rupture in a crude unit to the National Response Center: map.labucketbrigade.org/reports/view/12186. The rupture caused 200 barrels of oil to spill into the Mississippi River and onto a stretch of St. Bernard Highway around the plant. The first citizen report to the iWitness Pollution map came in 27 minutes after the NRC report. There were 10 citizen reports about the accident to the iWitness Pollution map between Friday, October 25th and Monday, October 28th.
“Shortly after 2pm today, residents reported hearing pop and then hearing the plant PA system evacuating contractors. No alarms nor sirens used. Reports came in of oiled cars on St Bernard hwy from oil from Valero Energy’s plant. Parish officials closed off highway while leak was secured.” –map.labucketbrigade.org/reports/view/ 12064
A one-mile section of St. Bernard Highway was closed from Jacob Drive to Munster Drive between 2 and 7 PM on Friday. Two school buses, St. Bernard Sherriff’s Office vehicles and passersby were sprayed with crude. The Sherriff’s Office used sand to absorb the crude oil on the road, and kept the road closed until the crude-soaked sand had been cleared away. Refinery workers worked during the weekend and through Monday to wipe down oil-spotted surfaces along St. Bernard Highway and the refinery’s old administration building parking lot, and washing company vehicles that had been stained with oil. Valero has offered car wash vouchers to anyone in the area who reported droplets of oil on their cars. The cause of the oil release is still under investigation.
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