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Official fuming over Port Allen chemical incident

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Posted: Jul 19, 2011 7:20 PM by Russell Jones
Updated: Jul 19, 2011 7:20 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: port allen, mayor, loupe, fumes, port, terminal, wbrz, louisiana

PORT ALLEN - Acting Mayor R. J. Loupe is raising a stink after he says there was a communications breakdown during a chemical leak in Port Allen.

It happened last night when asphalt was being loaded into a storage tank at the Center Point Terminal. A water-based additive was sprayed on it to reduce fumes in the asphalt, and the water turned into a non-toxic vapor.

Loupe told News 2 that for hours he couldn't get anyone on the phone that could tell him what was happening at the terminal, and that worried him.

"The people are very unhappy and I'm very unhappy so we don't know where we going with it but we're not gonna give it up," said Loupe.

Neighbors complained of a foul odor, itchy eyes and burning skin, and Loupe said no one knew if the vapor leak was dangerous. The Department of Environmental Quality has been at the port testing air quality around the grounds since last night and hasn't found anything toxic.

A spokesperson from the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, where the teriminal is located, told News 2 if there is any kind of issue on their property they immediately contact the parish Office of Emergency Preparedness to determine if the public should be notified.

As soon as DEQ wraps up their emergency investigation, they'll inspect the facility to see if the facility was in violation.

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