Friday, February 17, 2012 - 10:27 a.m.
The St. John the Baptist Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness, in conjunction with the United States Coast Guard, the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Port of South Louisiana are coordinating a response to an oil spill in the Mississippi River. At approximately 2:00 a.m., a barge accident on the river at the northern end of St. John the Baptist Parish resulted in release of a light grade of crude oil. As a precautionary measure, water intake valves for the West Bank Water Plant and the Lions’ Water Plant were closed to protect the parish’s water source.
Currently, the parish’s water storage capacity is adequate to serve residents on both sides of the river and the water is safe to drink. There is no threat to the public and no protective actions are necessary. However, residents and businesses on the east bank should conserve water until both water intake valves are re-opened. The Mississippi River is closed to through traffic from mile marker 135 to mile marker 140, but the ferry is operational. The Public Affairs Officer for the Coast Guard is handling all responses to the media.