St. Charles Herald-Guide

Dow leaked forced evacuation of buildings on site

By Kyle Barnett - August 7, 2013

A leak of a highly flammable and poisonous gas was reported at 8:20 a.m. Wednesday at the Dow Chemical facility in Taft and caused the evacuation of buildings downwind from the site, according to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

Tim Becktrom, spokesman with the LDEQ, said while Dow is working closely with the Louisiana State Police on any potential emergency response, a DEQ responder is now headed to the scene to take air samples.

Beckstrom said preliminary information provided to the department from Dow indicated the gas was treated with water, which helped deactivate and evaporate it while buildings downwind from the leak were evacuated.

DEQ reported the leak was secured at 10:30 a.m., an “all clear” was called at 11:24 a.m.  and that no offsite impact was expected.

According to St. Charles Parish spokeswoman Renee Simpson, the St. Charles Parish Emergency Operations Center has not issued any protective actions to be taken on the part of the public related to this event.Sources reported that Dow plant workers were sheltering in place while the situation was being handled.

"The site is stable. The event is isolated to a small portion of the St. Charles Operations site in Hahnville," Dow spokesman Tommy Faucheux said. "There has been no offsite or community impact. St. Charles Operations continues to communicate with all appropriate agencies."