State officials talk contamination in two ArkLaTex cities

Former Imperial Cleaners in Minden, La.
Former Imperial Cleaners in Minden, La.(KSLA)
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 3:42 PM CDT
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(KSLA) - Two northwest Louisiana cities are dealing with chemical contamination.

On Wednesday, June 22, KSLA′s Destinee Patterson sat down with officials from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) to discuss the two sites.

Minden, La. - Former Imperial Cleaners

The former Imperial Cleaners has been closed for about 20 years, officials confirmed. Crews have since learned of a leak.

[La. Dept. of Health investigating chemical leak in Minden]

In a release, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) said, “The leak involves the chemical tetrachloroethene (PCE) and its degradation products, including trichloroethene (TCE). There is evidence these substances have leaked from their storage container into the ground. When volatile compounds such as PCE and TCE are present in the ground and shallow groundwater they may produce vapors that can enter a building through cracks in the foundation, around the pipes, or through a drain system.”

Celeste Bonnecaze, the team leader for the radiation division, says crews have started indoor samplings for four of the surrounding buildings. This will determine if the chemicals have contaminated any of those buildings.

“We don’t know specifically how the chemicals were released; it’s probably routine operation,” she explained.

Bonnecaze says this is the first group, or tier one of three. It’s expected to take two to three weeks to get those results back.

“The first group was what we considered the most near properties, physically. Also, we put in our first tier the property that has children on-site,” she said.

There are at least two childcare facilities and a dance center just across the street from the building on Pennsylvania Avenue. KSLA talked to the owner of a nearby hair salon off-camera. She says she’s not worried about potential contamination or its effects because she’s “confident everything will work out.”

Greg Langley, the press secretary for LDEQ, says there was no found contamination off-site prior to 2022.

Bossier City, La. - Tronex/Kerr-McGee Wood Treatment Facility

“Cleanup and soil mitigation has been ongoing since February” and is expected to continue through August, according to the Bossier Parish Police Jury.

Geology adviser Carey Dicharry says the department has about $23 million to spend for cleanup.

“There is some off-site contamination. It’s in the shallow soil and a little bit in the ground water,” he said.

Scott-Dickerson Homes is just north of the wood treatment facility.

According to Dicharry, there’s a “phased approach.” The first phase will address shallow, off-site contamination in the soil.

“It will be dug up in a short amount of time, so it’s not really going to be an issue,” he said.

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