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Refinery blamed for toxic smell.

The phones at the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality have been ringing non-stop with complaints of foul, unexplained odours ranging from burning tires to chemicals. Many of these complains have been logged into the online iWitness Pollution Map, which shows that these strange smells have been accompanied by headaches, scratchy throats, diarrhea and other symptoms.

The Louisiana DEQ and the US Coast Guard announced April 3 that they were investigating the complaints. On April 4 they announced a possible culprit: the Chalmette Refinery jointly operated by ExxonMobil and Petroleos de Venezuela, which reported it experienced a leak the morning of April 3.

According to the Coast Guard, the leak contained waste water that could have also included hydrogen sulfide and ammonia.

In a statement, the Coast Guard said: "The facility reported and quickly stopped a leak and, while the investigation is still ongoing, officials currently believe it could be the source of the odor. The leak was contained to a unit at the refinery. Air monitoring was initiated immediately upon discovery." No pressing air quality issues were detected.

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Publication:Oil & Gas News
Date:Apr 17, 2013
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