Friday, February 17, 2012
As a result of a barge accident on the Mississippi River early this morning, a small section of the river was closed due to an oil spill involving a light grade of crude oil. The St. John the Baptist Parish Utilities Department was forced to close water intake valves at the Lions Water Plant and the West Bank Water Plant to avoid contaminating those water systems. During this time, water was supplied to West Bank residents and residents of Garyville, Mt. Airy, and Reserve from water storage tanks. The supply on the East Bank was supplemented by water from the Ruddock system until the spill area was boomed off. Once the incident was under control, Parish Officials re-opened water intake valves at both water plants around 1:00 p.m. Although storage capacity for the West Bank and Lions Plants was adequate, residents on the East Bank were asked to conserve water as a precautionary measure.
“Working together and remaining in constant contact with the Coast Guard, Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and the Port of South Louisiana, the impact of the oil spill was minimized for residents. Thanks to the efforts of the staff in the Office of Emergency Preparedness and the Utilities Department, all water plants are back online and the water is safe for consumption,” stated Parish President Natalie Robottom. The Mississippi River is closed to through traffic from mile marker 135 to mile marker 140, but the ferry is operational. The United States Coast Guard, the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, and the Port of South Louisiana are continuing to monitor the river. The Public Affairs Officer for the Coast Guard is handling all responses to the media.