Update: St. Charles testing equipment to locate odor source

Published 10:58 am Saturday, June 14, 2014

ST. ROSE — The St. Charles Parish Emergency Operations Center said parish workers are testing equipment today to verify proper operation in an effort to locate the source of the odor in the St. Rose area.

“The odor in St. Rose may vary for brief periods on Monday,” a release said. “The air will be monitored to ensure that air quality standards are maintained. Your patience is greatly appreciated.”

Residents are again asked to call the St. Charles Parish Emergency Operations Center for more information or to make odor reports at 985-783-5050.

St. Charles leaders previously reported the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and a third party monitoring team were in the St. Rose area this past weekend to confirm ambient air standards are being met a week after a foul smell has reportedly caused numerous residents to feel sick.

In a release to media members Saturday morning, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, an environmental health and justice organization working with communities that neighbor the state’s oil refineries and chemical plants, reported 97 of the 116 people surveyed Friday reported having health effects since the odor became prevalent.

Five trained members of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade Emergency Response Team deployed to St. Rose from 2 to 7 p.m. Friday, the release said, surveying the Preston Hollow subdivision and the streets sandwiched between the east side of IMTT (International-Matex Tank Terminals) and Preston Hollow.

The Team interviewed 116 residents about the impacts of the chemical smell.

The Bucket Brigade released the following results of its survey:

99% of people surveyed smelled the odor

Health Effects

84% (97 people) had health effects

43% (49 people) had nausea

38% (44 people) complained of headaches

34% (39 people) complained of respiratory issues

Mental Health

47% (54 people) experienced a mental health / emotional response

12% (13 people) were afraid

9% (10 people) were confused

9% (10 people) felt anxious

Numerous people commented that their pets were also visibly affected by the chemical odors.

Excerpts from the iWitness Pollution Map are as follows:

“Bad smell, skunky pollution, on 4th Street in St. Rose. Lightheaded, dizzy. Feel like I might faint.”

“I’m in St. Rose 470 4th Street. Some terrible odors. I’d say about a week now. Nauseous, I have been having a stomach ache.”

“Oh yeah the health effects, yeah, we be having stomach aches, you know sinus effects, my niece has been throwing up, headaches, asthma. All kinda things have been going on.”

According to the Bucket Brigade, its Emergency Response Team knocked on 223 doors, talked with 120 people and conducted the health-symptom survey with 116 people.

In a public release Friday, the St. Charles Parish Government said its Emergency Operations Center is continuing to work with the LDEQ regarding odor reports in the St. Rose area.

“The source of the odor remains under investigation,” a release said. “The LDEQ has confirmed via ongoing air monitoring that there is no toxic hazard posed by the odor at this time. There continues to be no protective measures recommended on the part of the public.”