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Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Mystery red sludge spills at old Baton Rouge tannery

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BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is investigating a chemical spill at what they believe to be an old tannery on Kincaid Avenue off Choctaw Road. A red liquid spilled Monday afternoon from dozens of blue drums with ominous warning labels onto a parking lot and into a ditch and storm drain.

Emergency crews spent much of Tuesday thoroughly cleaning the mess. It's unclear who currently owns the old tannery but it appears someone was trying to clean up the building when the spill happened said DEQ Emergency Response Administrator Jeff Dauzat.

"Immediately thereafter there were some elevated [contaminant] readings, kind of a smell of rotten eggs. It was mostly isolated on site and the readings were low," said Dauzat.

It could be a few days before DEQ identifies the spilled chemical and a few weeks or months before a criminal investigation is concluded. Old tanneries are notorious for their dangerous chemicals but Dauzat said local residents and businesses were not in danger.

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