Chemical leak at Dow contained, officials say

A chemical leak was reported Wednesday at Dow Chemical’s St. Charles Operations plant in Hahnville, but local and state officials said the incident did not pose a danger to neighboring communities.

A leak of acrolein, which is known to cause respiratory irritation, was discovered at Dow’s petrochemical manufacturing complex during a maintenance inspection about 8:20 a.m., said Jean Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

The leak was secured by 10:30 a.m., Kelly said, and the site was deemed to be clear of danger by Dow personnel at 11:24 a.m.

Dow crews contained the leak by spraying water on it, Kelly said. Acrolein, which is used as a pesticide and also to make other chemicals, dissolves easily in water.

“It just kind of stays right there and deactivates it pretty quickly,” Kelly said about the sprayed-down chemical.

The Emergency Operations Center for St. Charles Parish did not order residents to take any protective measures because of the chemical release, parish spokeswoman Renee Allemand Simpson said.