Overall, pollution decreases in St. John

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 24, 2010



LAPLACE – Although six of the nine major industrial plants in St. John the Baptist Parish registered increases in toxic emissions in 2009, a report by the St. John Industrial group indicates an overall decrease in pollution parishwide.

The Environmental Protection Agency requires the annual release of pollution figures, which were made public last month. The data shows that parish industrial plants released nearly 3.5 million pounds of pollutants to the parish’s water land and air in 2009, about 23 percent less than the 2008 figure of 4.5 million pounds.

The report records the release of various chemicals such as chlorine, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and formaldehyde from plants in LaPlace, Reserve and Garyville. The plants included in the report include Marathon Petroleum, Nalco Co., ArcelorMittal, DuPont, Dupont Elastomers, DPC Enterprises, Air Products & Chemicals and Evonik, all major employers in the parish. The EPA has required the annual release of the plants’ emissions data since the mid-1980s.

The data shows that Nalco Co., a Garyville water treatment management facility, registered the largest percentage increase in emissions in 2009. The plant released 10.8 percent more in 2009 than in 2008, with the most substantial jump coming from off-site transfers.

Nalco plant manager Carl Pasquarelli said the national economic downturn forced the plant to dispose of surplus inventory off site, causing the 11 percent spike. Off site emissions jumped from 174,130 pounds in 2008 to 194, 287 pounds in 2009. Pasquarelli said the inventory was acrylic polymer, a water treatment chemical.

He said the plant showed decreases in air and water emissions in 2009.

The plant showing the largest decrease in emissions in 2009 was ArcelorMittal. The LaPlace steel company, formerly known as Bayou Steel, experienced a 35.5 percent drop in emissions in 2009, going from 3,017 pounds to 1,946 pounds.

The report showed that ArcelorMittal’s largest decrease came in offsite emissions. The plant released 1,065.4 pounds off site in 2009, compared to 2,989.4 pounds in 2008. The off site emissions reported are transfers of “shredded fluff,” including foam plastic and fabric from car dashboards and seat cushions, all containing zinc.

The substantial drop from ArcelorMittal was a major contributor to the overall emissions drop experienced parishwide.

The plant also showed a slight decrease in air emissions, going from 28.2 pounds to 22.7 pounds.

The only other plant showing decreases across the board was Dupont’s facility in LaPlace. Air emissions decreased by 16.4 percent, and land emissions decreased by 26.7 percent in 2009. Both decreases were a result of decreased production at the facility. Off-site emissions were down by 1,900 pounds.