“Now, they are just managing the water that’s on the site,” Vicki Hadwin of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality said Wednesday. The companies are trying to clear a work area by hauling off the standing water in trucks, Hadwin said. Workers found a small amount of asbestos that they were working to remove, she said.
Brandenburg Industrial Service Company is the demolition contractor; Clean Harbors Company is doing the waste transportation and disposal; and Environmental Resources Management Group is the environmental consultant for the cleanup.
The cleanup of the site is scheduled to be finished at the beginning of June. “This will be pretty significant as far as cleanup goes,” Hadwin said.
The DEQ announced at the end of January that cleanup work would resume in February after the initial cleanup phase was completed in 2008.
State Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin, who is a member of the Natural Resources Committee in the Legislature, said, “it’s been a long wait” due to court and legal issues. “What will be good is for the cleanup to be done, for it to be certified complete, and for the property to be able to be put back into commerce, which will be good for all of St. Mary Parish and the region,” Jones said.
The site’s hazardous wastes were a major issue for the area in the late 1980s and early ’90s, Jones said.
There have been a couple other hazardous waste sites in the parish that have been cleaned up recently as well, he added.
In 1985, Marine Shale Processors began incinerating hazardous wastes, reducing them to ash, according to the cooperative agreement between the DEQ and Marine Shale Processors.
Marine Shale Processors ceased operating the site in 1996 but left behind storage tanks and bins containing incinerated waste residues and untreated wastes, onsite stockpiles of incinerated wastes and untreated waste, and fill material composed of incinerated waste material, according to the agreement.
The State of Louisiana and U.S. Department of Justice took civil action against Marine Shale Processors to recover response costs following the finding of incinerated waste materials and untreated wastes at the abandoned site near Amelia.
“Hopefully, by the end of the week, they’ll start unloading tanks,” Hadwin said, of the tank farm area where they will pump out the liquids and remove the solids from the tanks, and take down the piping, she said. Then they will start demolishing the tanks and piping.
They will also be demolishing an office building on the site through next week, she said.
After that they will go to the dock area of the site to remove waste material from tanks and clean the material out on some abandoned barges. Then they will dismantle the kiln, which was used to incinerate hazardous wastes, and take down the oxidizers, the “big red U-shaped structures” that are visible from the road, Hadwin said.
By the end of the cleanup, in June, all of the wastes from the tanks should be gone, she said. “All the structures will be gone except for a warehouse that doesn’t have any waste in it,” Hadwin said. Lastly, a company will come in to do soil and groundwater testing. “Then we’ll see if there are any other actions that need to be done out there.”
Jones said the Natural Resources Committee will have a meeting Tuesday to discuss environmental issues including the Bayou Corne sinkhole in Assumption Parish.