Chemicals spilled in LaPlace

Published 12:11 am Wednesday, July 22, 2015

LAPLACE — A cargo truck transporting Nalco chemicals in square, metal containers overturned Monday morning in LaPlace, leading to nearly 12 hours of cleanup at one of the town’s busiest intersections.

State Police said the driver of the 18-wheeler was cited with careless operation of a motor vehicle.

State Police said the driver of the 18-wheeler was cited with careless operation of a motor vehicle.

Trooper Melissa Matey of Louisiana State Police said an 18-wheeler trying to make a left turn from Airline Highway onto U.S. 51 in LaPlace shortly after 9 a.m. took the curve too fast, rolling on its side.

Matey said the driver was unhurt, and no injuries or damages to other vehicles were reported. The driver was cited for careless operation.

Sgt. Dane Clement of the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office said deputies were on scene from 9:15 a.m. to 8:41 p.m. helping secure the road before traffic returned to normal.

Jobe Boucvalt, director of public safety for St. John Parish, said the truck contained  a non-hazardous chemical used in Nalco’s food and water treatment process. The chemical was contained in metal containers and started to leak out slowly after impact.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation responded and helped dike the area, Boucvalt said, to keep the product from getting into the parish drainage system.

Boucvalt said a cleanup company was called in to vacuum the chemical on the ground, which expanded during a Monday rainstorm.

Clean-up crew members also spread absorbent on the road.

“That way, they could absorb it, pick it up, vacuum it up and scoop it up into a waste truck to get it off site,” Boucvalt said. “All these provisions were made to ensure the product didn’t get into the drainage system and didn’t get into the wetlands.

“The product needed to be completely picked up and absorbed before we opened that road. We didn’t want somebody to come right behind there, have a slick road and have somebody get in a wreck.”