St. Landry

Aug 7, 2013 12:49 AM by Erin Steuber

New Environmental Concerns Following Train Derailment

There are new environmental concerns in St. Landry Parish, two days after that train derailed in Lawtell. In a drainage canal off of Summer and School Roads, about three miles from where the derailment happened, what appeared to be hazmat crews were on scene checking the water.

Union Pacific is not saying much, but a source says it appears there is chemical contamination in that drainage canal. The source with Union Pacific says crews were on scene to check a filtration system they had put in place just a few hours before. That system was put in place after they started receiving complaints of a tan substance floating in the water.

KATC's Erin Steuber was told testing of that substance revealed it's a chemical called dodecanol. It's commonly used in detergents and soaps. The chemical is lighter than water, and that is why the substance is seen floating on the surface. The source with Union Pacific says it's not harmful, but people in Lawtell want to be sure.

Union Pacific, the company that owns the train that derailed, will remain on scene overnight with the Department of Environmental Quality. They'll be monitoring that drainage canal and working to vacuum that chemical off the surface. The substance that is vacuumed off will then be placed in tanks and safely disposed of.

At this point, there's no evidence that the substance has made it into the drinking water, but we reached out to the parish to make sure. Our calls went unanswered.

Union Pacific says they will continue testing the water, and working with DEQ, as cleanup continues.


» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.


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