Ethylene leak in Bell City poses no safety concern for residents

Once an ethylene pipeline in Bell City empties in a couple of days, workers will begin making repairs, officials said.

Ethylene is flammable, but the quantity of the chemical is small and poses no safety concern for residents, said Norman Bourdeau, operational manager with the Calcasieu Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness.

Bourdeau said the repair crews are waiting for the pressure to drop so they can purge the pipe with nitrogen and then make repairs to a leaking valve. The pipeline is seven miles long and 12 inches wide.

The leak, reported Wednesday night, is located in the middle of a field near Nick Martone Road.

Fire departments from Allen, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jeff Davis parishes are standing by with tanks of water as a safety precaution, Bourdeau said.

The Shell pipeline has been blocked in to help minimize the leak, Bourdeau said.

The first flare was put online early Thursday morning to burn off the product, and a second flare was added at about noon the same day to help speed up the burn. Bourdeau said the process is routine.