Water, Water Everywhere

The New York Times' comprehensive database of Clean Water Act violators reveals a few of New Orleans' major non-compliant polluters:

1. The City of New Orleans[!]
2. Entergy
3. Bollinger Algiers, LLC
4. Bollinger Gulf Repair, LLC
5. Delta Terminal Services, LLC

Many of the refineries and chemical companies in the metro area have recent effluent violations and fines. More than a few have gone unfined, a trend of goverment laxity that the Times' points out.

A major New Orleans metro area polluter is Rain CII Carbon, LLC of Chalmette. The company has a 2007 "effluent violation" meaning they were caught illegally dumping toxins into the Mississippi River or groundwater. Rain Carbon is an interesting case. The Times' reporter who led this major study chose to focus on Clean Water Act violations in West Virginia in the expose published yesterday. West Virginia's water woes have a lot to do with the same business activity that Rain Carbon is involved in: coal/coke.

But New Orleans' particular environmental woes differ a lot from West Virginia overall. Coal is not our burden. Our burden is petroleum, natural gas, and the plethora of chemical products and byproducts that can be refined and manufactured from them. And according to the Times' database, in sheer terms of compliance with the Clean Water Act New Orleans' biggest regulatory problems seem to be landfills and auto werckers. The top violaters in N.O. are Central Auto Repair and Storage (16 violations), the New Orleans East Bank STP (15 violations), Old Gentilly Auto and Storage (11 violations), American Enterprise (10 violations), Gulf South Auto (10 violations), and so on....

Others illegally dumping toxins in our reigion's water include:

1. American Sugar Refining Co. or Arabi
2. Chemtura Corp. of Gretna
3. Chalmette Refining, LLC of Chalmette (with 9 violations!)

Not surprisingly New Orleans East has a major cluster of polluters including junk yards, landfills, and Lockheed's NASA facility. Many of them to have been found in violation of the Clean Water Act in recent years.

According to the Times' database, Shell Chemical's Norco facility "has been out of regulatory compliance 9 of the past 12 quarters," and has been assessed upwards of $999,999 in fines for noncompliance and illegal dumping.

Dow Chemical's Hahnville plant which recently leaked massive amounts of ethyl acrylate into the environment seems to be identified as "Union Carbide" in the Times database, referring to the corporation Dow purchased for $11 billion in 1999. Dow's UC plant in Hahnville is said to have "been out of regulatory compliance 5 of the past 12 quarters." Four effluent violations are noted, 1 in 2005, 1 in 2005, and 2 in 2006. The facility's EPA report can be viewed online.

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