The month of October saw a spike in reporting from citizens in both Baton Rouge and the Chalmette/Meraux area. The 46 reports that came in from the Chalmette/Meraux area are of particular interest, because of the accident that happened at the Valero Meraux Refinery on Friday, October 25th during which crude oil spewing from the refinery hit cars and school buses and shut down St. Bernard Highway for several hours. The first citizen report about the accident came in to the iWitness Pollution map 27 minutes after Valero made a report to the National Response Center. These citizen reports are significant, because Valero’s NRC report only addressed the release of oil into the Mississippi River. The influx of citizen and news reports prompted the Bucket Brigade to deploy our Emergency Response Team. The influx of iWitness reports from the Chalmette/Meraux area are a direct result of this deployment. In addition to gathering health survey results, which can be seen in the previous post, the Bucket Brigade was able to raise awareness about the map and the importance of reporting. The Valero Meraux accident affected more than just the Mississippi River, which is something that came to light because of the diligence of the citizens of the community.