Ascension: DEQ to visit old Ormet Plant today to investigate a red haze

GONZALES-The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality confirmed it will be going out to Ormet Plant today after Unfiltered with Kiran reached out asking questions about a red haze. DEQ said they will be at the plant on Sept. 19, 2023 to investigate the red haze emitting from the old Ormet Plant.

The latest flare up was Sept. 8, 2023 when many residents in the Pelican Crossing neighborhood reached out to UWK with pictures of a red haze.

They described the dust as the “worst they have seen in five years.” Pelican Crossing is the neighborhood that is nearby the old plant. According to those residents, there are occasional dust storms caused by the remnants from this plant, but it was the worst in recent years on Sept. 8, 2023.

The red dust has been described as toxic, and the cause of breathing problems in the area.

Over the years, DEQ said they have received complaints from citizens who live near the old plant that was owned by LAlumina. The complaints allege that, for years, dust left the facility and can be seen as a huge red cloud. The complaints further allege that the facility is not watering the area properly. It is believed that this red cloud is causing breathing and contamination issues in the nearby neighborhoods.

Some complaints claim that the red dust has been found to be bauxite. Bauxite has a high aluminum content. According to the reports, there is a pending enforcement action against the facility. The facility is working with DEQ’s Permit and Enforcement divisions to address the action.

Previously, DEQ issued a consolidated compliance order & notice of potential penalty, which requires the facility to follow a schedule for compliance and a requirement to submit a monthly progress report and summary report.

Viewer submitted from Sept. 8, 2023 in Pelican Crossing subdivision

The facility is not currently operating and is required to take all reasonable steps to prevent particles from becoming airborne. DEQ is aware of the facility’s noncompliance.

In a statement to DEQ on 6/22/2023, LAlumina’s CEO, Aaron Templet, stated he is aware of the particulate matter leaving the facility grounds. He continued that there are five more lines to connect to the water main before welding the uprisers and adding the final sprinklers to Lake 5. He stated that heavy rain prevented installation of the sprinklers. Additionally, the extra dry climate is causing an increase in the particles becoming airborne. Finally, Templet stated that they are working to have Lake 4 completely tarped over.

Do you believe that this red dust has caused you to have breathing problems? Reach out to us.

Download the Unfiltered with Kiran app from the Apple App Store and Google Play to stay updated on any new developments.

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