Ascension Parish to complete HAZMAT study

Staff reports

Emergency responders often do not grasp the magnitude of chemicals being transported by truck, train or barge through their regions. Ascension Parish is initiating a study to find out.

 “This is the first study of its kind in our area,” said Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez. “Other regions are likely to be interested in what we are doing in Ascension Parish because it provides local officials and their LEPC with situational awareness.”

Using Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) funds from the US Department of Transportation, parish officials have contracted with IEM to conduct the study. IEM is a global consulting firm with specific expertise in HAZMAT planning and has an office in Baton Rouge.

“My office looks forward to working with IEM and the chemical industry on this study.  We know what chemicals are manufactured here but a detailed flow study has never been completed” said Ascension Parish Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) Chair Rick Webre. “As Ascension Parish grows this data is critical in the emergency response planning process.”

The study is expected to take six months and involve chemical companies, rail carriers, shippers and federal, state and local officials