In the state of Louisiana, there are currently 17 refineries and more than 100 major chemical plants in operation. Over the past several years, there has been an average of 300 accidents per year, releasing more than 1 million pounds of toxicants into the air and around 1 million gallons into the water and soil. These numbers continue to grow—despite the fact that accident numbers have been reduced. This means that even though Louisiana refineries and plants are attempting to cut back on accidents that occur every year, the toxic exposure and chemical threats continue to get worse and increasingly more dangerous.
The top refinery and plant accidents to occur in Louisiana in the past several years include:
- Citgo in Lake Charles: The first of two major accidents at this location, the 2005 incident occurred during Hurricane Katrina. The damage led to more than 40,000 pounds of both sulfur dioxide and compressed flammable gas being released. It also resulted in more than 440,000 pounds of asbestos being released into the air. Slop oil and hydrogen sulfide were also released after the accident.
- Citgo in Lake Charles: The 2006 accident occurred when heavy rainfall caused the release of several hazardous substances into both the air and water supply. There were over 2 million gallons of oil spilled into Moss Lake and the Calcasieu Ship Channel. More than 200,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide were released into the air, as well as thousands of pounds of toluene, xylene, and ethyl benzene
- ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge: The refinery has dealt with numerous accidents over the years, yet in 2006, more than 33,800 pounds of corrosive waste and around 33,880 pounds of primary sludge were released onto land. Several corroded pipes that could no longer contain the hazardous elements effectively caused the accident. The reportable quantity for primary sludge is just one pound—making this toxic waste release around 33,879 pounds over the minimum amount for danger.
- ConocoPhillips in Lake Charles: In early 2007, a chemical reaction occurred during a transfer of hydrogen sulfide. The accident resulted in one worker's death and left nine others in the hospital.
- ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge: In 2008, an accident occurred releasing thousands of pounds of hazardous chemicals like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and ammonia into the air. Hurricane Gustav and its aftermath caused the three-day accident. The refinery was not ready for the strength of the storm and failed to maintain appropriate safety precautions and preparedness.
- Chalmette Refining in Chalmette: During Hurricane Gustav, this refinery also suffered a serious accident. The damage resulted in more than 11.6 million gallons of untreated wastewater being released into Lake Borgne, contaminating a huge water source for people in the surrounding areas.
In just eight years, accidents at Chalmatte Refining have resulted in more than 7,000,000 pounds of pollutants being released into the air. Likewise, ExxonMobil Chemical Plant has exposed the state of Louisiana to more than 130,000,000 gallons of pollutants from 2005 to 2013. If you are concerned about the hazardous materials being released into your environment or have questions about refinery or plant accident claims, Arnold & Itkin is here to help. Contact our industrial injury lawyers today to discuss your concerns.