Storm could push oil-filled water into West Bank homes
With the start of hurricane season and the current oil crisis in the Gulf, parish Emergency Operations Center Director Scott Whelchel has been busy.
Whelchel is constantly working with the Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency and Wildlife and Fisheries to find proactive solutions to any potential problems rather than being reactive.
In fact, the EOC is trying to secure permits to sink old barges and sheet pilings in the parish coastal waters to slow down water flow during potential hurricanes.
“We will explore all opportunities to protect our coast and all inlets including Lake Salvador from the BP oil spill,” he said.
But with an active hurricane season being predicted, Whelchel made a dooming prediction to members of the St. Charles Business Association at their June meeting. A strong hurricane blowing water out of the Gulf of Mexico could definitely push oil-filled water into homes on the parish’s West Bank.
However, he was optimistic about the parish’s water supply, which he feels should not be affected because it comes from the Mississippi River. But the parish will still continue to receive water sample data to make sure no changes occur.
Speaking about affected businesses Whelchel did say a number of local businesses have been affected and residents can check the parish’s web site at www.stcharlesgov.net to get the most accurate numbers. He cautioned that those numbers may not be correct because BP has not allowed access to its actual claim number to the state’s Department of Community Services, which is handling claims for all state residents and business.
Whelchel said that affected businesses can contact his department or Corey Faucheux at the parish’s economic development department to obtain information on filing a claim.
“We teach resiliency. It’s the message that helps us get through disasters,” Whelchel said. “Companies should find ways to translate disasters into opportunities.”
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