Nine refineries to pay $5.5M for Lake Charles-area contamination

Associated Press

Nine oil refineries and chemical companies in the Lake Charles area have agreed to pay the federal government $5.5 million for their contamination of parts of the northern Calcasieu River estuary.

The settlement was announced this month by the U.S. Justice Department. The latest in a series of federal and state legal actions against more than a dozen industrial plants for polluting the river basin with toxic chemicals and heavy metals, including dioxin and mercury, it covers less than half of the Environmental Protection Agency’s $13 million response costs for contamination caused by this group.

The funds also don’t include money for the Louisiana environmental agency, but state officials say they have been receiving payments from some of the companies and from EPA for at least a portion of the state’s response costs.

According to a complaint filed with the settlement, the chemicals entered the water through accidents and seeped into groundwater from unlined waste disposal impoundments at some plants that began operating as early as 1920.

Lake Charles area residents first met with EPA and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality about water contamination in the early 1980s, after blood samples from some residents indicated unsafe levels of dioxin and other chemicals, according to Wilma Subra, a science advisor to the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, which represents area environmental groups.

“We had residents with levels of dioxin in their blood at three times the national average, and those people were fishing in the estuary, in the main Calcasieu River and in all the bayous,” Subra said. “They still are.”

Public comments on the proposed consent decree may be submitted to the Justice Department through May 16.””Calcasieu RiverAmerican Press Archives

Local News

Craig Marks: Past hardships just something God had me go through

Local News

SW La. school lunch menus Oct. 25-29

Crime

10/23: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

Trinity Baptist drawing younger generation with dodgeball tournament

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Where do we go from here?

Local News

Deaf student welding his way to success

Business News

Louisiana float to appear in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Local News

Jeff Davis School Board approves one-time pay supplement

Crime

15-minute deliberation before Vernon man convicted of recruiting prostitutes

Crime

Kinder man convicted in double homicide

Crime

10/22: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

More than 500 vehicles expected at Last Resort car show

Local News

SW La. nightlife calendar: Here’s what’s happening

Local News

It’s Spooktacular: Coats for Kids kickoff Oct. 29

Crime

DeRidder man convicted of kidnapping will be resentenced on drug charges

high-school Football

Dragons return home to face Bolton

Local News

Happy Halloween: Your thrill guide to fall fests and all kinds of frightening fun

Local News

Katie Daniel: Favorite thing about teaching art is seeing imaginations on display

Local News

Parents given quarantine option in Jeff Davis

Local News

Calcasieu wants nearly $4 billion more in relief funds

Local News

Photo Gallery: McNeese Homecoming Parade

Business News

AT&T expanding footprint in Lake Charles

Business News

Metalplate Galvanizing asks Jeff Davis School Board for tax exemption

Local News

Monoclonal antibody community-based treatment sites open