St. Mary

Mar 14, 2013 6:23 PM by Chris Welty

Cleanup Underway at Old Marine Shale Processors

In Saint Mary Parish, hazardous waste removal and demolition is underway at the old Marine Shale Processors site.

It's located in Amelia, near Morgan City. Clean up crews have had their equipment in place since early February.

Marine Shale Processors took over the site in 1984. At first, the company incinerated non-hazardous oilfield waste, but a year later, it started incinerating hazardous waste.

In 1990, the Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency filed suit against Marine Shale claiming numerous violations. Marine Shale shut down in 1996 but left behind waste, much of it hazardous. That's what's now being cleaned up.

Contractors are slowly cleaning up and demolishing the old Marine Shale site.
Crews will dismantle the kiln, which was used to incinerate hazardous waste, and take down other structures. The DEQ says while it was in operation the site was quite hazardous.

"There were a lot of toxic, very flammable, explosive materials, fed through the incinerator. at this time, we feel like the risks are very small," said Chris Ratcliff, an attorney wit the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

When the plant shutdown there was a lot of incinerator ash to clean up along with waste water and fuel. Now, materials are carefully being removed to prevent anything being released into the environment.

"There were a lot of violations of the clean water act, the clean air act, the laws regulating hazardous waste," said Ratcliff.

The ultimate goal once the site is clean is to develop it for business and make sure nothing like this happens again.

Demolition should take about one hundred days and then phase two will begin which is a site investigation.

"Assessment of soil and ground water to determine what residual contamination is there and an evaluation of options of remedial action to deal with that residual contamination," said Ratcliff.

Cleanup should be complete in June. The State and the U.S. Department of Justice took civil action against Marine Shale Processors to recover response costs.

Chris Welty



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