A broken flange on a pipe caused 3,600 gallons of sulfuric acid to spill at the Cornerstone Chemical Co. facility at Waggaman, LA, April 11, state officials said.
The spill, which occurred at 5:30 p.m. on April 11, was reported by Cornerstone to the Coast Guard National Response Center and state officials just after midnight April 12, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) spokesman Gregory Langley said Friday.
As of Monday, no report on the spill or its cleanup had been filed in DEQ’s Electronic Document Management System, an online repository for official records that have been created or received by the agency.
Cornerstone officials did not respond Monday to a request for information about the spill, according to a report with NOLA.com.
Langley on Friday said information provided by DEQ staff to him when the accident occurred indicated the acid was released to the air, soil and to a concrete-lined drainage ditch, and the company hired Clean Harbors, an environmental contractor, to remove or neutralize the acid at the site.
“No air monitoring was conducted,” Langley said he was told. “There were no shelter in place, evacuations or road closures during this release.”
Langley said agency staffers told him the incident was no longer considered in emergency phase, at the time they provided him with the information.
“Repairs are currently being made (to the) drainage ditch covering an estimated 500-600 feet,” that initial report said. Soda ash was being used to neutralize the acid, and a vacuum truck was used to recover liquids from the ditch.
Movement of the material was limited to only a portion of the ditch by gate valves, he said.
“After the drainage ditch is pumped out, the gate valves will be opened and the ditch will be flushed with clean water until the pH (the indicator of whether liquids are acid or base) is neutral,” Langley said he was told. “Water sent through the drainage ditch is treated in the onsite water treatment plant.”
Areas where soil was contaminated will also be excavated.