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Posted: Friday, 25 October 2013 5:52PM

Spill at plant in St. Bernard

Crews shut down Saint Bernard Highway Friday afternoon "because of a release of an oil-like liquid."

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Cannizaro says the chemical sprayed on the road and vehicles outside the Valero Meraux Refinery

"A number of Sheriff's vehicles, at least two school buses and numerous other vehicles were struck by the dark spray as they passed on the roadway or were parked in a lot across the street and south of railroad tracks that parallel the highway," according to Cannizaro.

He says no one was hurt. 

"Refinery officials had spoken to a number of vehicle owners about having vehicles cleaned. The exact number of vehicles affected wasn't immediately known."

The incident also forced traffic to detour.

"About a one-mile section of East St. Bernard Highway from Jacob Drive in eastern Chalmette to Munster Drive in Meraux was closed by the Sheriff's Office because of the problem," Sheriff  James Pohlmann said.

Louisiana State Police hazardous materials officials responded to conduct an investigation and oversee cleanup.  The sheriff's office and fire department were also on scene.

"A private firm, U.S. Environmental Services, was called and sand was being placed on the road to absorb the liquid and would be removed afterward, then the highway could be opened," according to Cannizaro.

WWL TV reports that a Valero plant spokeswoman says around 2:30 p.m. a "small amount of oil" released from the crude unit at the facility and spilled on to the highway, and that a plug on a pipeline running across St. Bernard Highway failed, according to State Police, causing the spill.

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Topics : Environment
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People : James PohlmannSteve Cannizaro
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