Precautions follow Dow leak

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 14, 2010



NORCO – St. Charles Parish officials said a chemical release from a Norco facility has forced the evacuation of several homes and two schools in the area.

A Dow unit at Hexion Specialty Chemicals’ Norco plant is responsible for the release of titanium

tetrachloride, which converts to hydrochloric acid when it reacts with the air, said St. Charles Spokeswoman Renee Simpson. She said the chemical as a vapor can irritate eyes and throats.

According to Dow, a pipeline at the facility, located near the Bonnet Carre Spillway, ruptured around 4:30 a.m. causing the

chemical leak. Dow officials said the pipe has been sealed and they are confident that the vapors have not blown over heavily inhabited areas of the parish.

Simpson said the parish called for a precautionary evacuation of homes along Spruce Street, Honeysuckle Drive, Wild Rose Drive and Fifth Street from the Spillway to Spruce Street. She also said administrators at Sacred Heart, Norco Elementary Schools canceled classes for the day.

Simpson said authorities were not allowing anyone to enter an area around the plant bordered by the railroad tracks, Spruce Street, Fifth Street and the lower Spillway Guide Levee until potential danger had subsided.