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The Voice of Southwest Louisiana

January 2017 News Magazine

SWLA news I-10 Calcasieu

SWLA news I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge a Longtime Work In Progress By Brenda Hill Since 1994, state environmental and transportation officials have been studying ways to replace the Interstate 10 Calcasieu River Bridge. Many residents, business owners and government officials have met over 22 years attempting to determine the most efficient and cost effective way to replace the bridge – which was opened in 1952 --that services approximately 70,000 motorists per day which totals 23 million per year. What many in the public fail to understand is that one of the primary hindrances of a new bridge is the cleanup of an undisclosed amount of ethylene dichloride (EDC) which leaked into the waters under the bridge in 1994. According to the Centers for Disease Control, EDC “is one of the highest volume chemicals used in the United States.” The chemical is an important ingredient in the creation of plastic and vinyl products. EDC leaked from an above ground pipeline that was owned then by Conoco refinery. Since that time Phillips 66 (which merged with Conoco in 2002) has been working with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) to “address the impact of the release,” according to a company fact sheet entitled “Clooney Loop Remediation and the Interstate 10 Bridge over the Calcasieu River.” “Phillips 66 operates a comprehensive groundwater recovery and treatment system and regularly collects samples from monitoring wells in accordance with plans approved by LDEQ. This system has been in operation since shortly after the incident and has been highly successful at recovering product and cleaning up the area,” according to the fact sheet. The company states that concentration levels north of the I-10 Bridge are “well below the LDEQ approved cleanup standards and no remediation is necessary in this area. In fact, most of the samples taken from the area since November 2011 show that the groundwater even meets EPA standards for drinking water.” The company finished monitoring and assessment of EDC impact in the Clooney Loop Marine Docks along with the area north of that location. As a result, Phillips 66 started remediation in those areas. “Phillips 66 will continue its monitoring and recovery efforts in any affected area under the guidance of LDEQ. In addition, Phillips 66 will continue to evaluate the feasibility of various remediation methods to enhance the ongoing groundwater recovery and treatment efforts under the direction of LDEQ,” the fact sheet states. The Louisiana Department of Transportation is the government agency that will oversee the construction of a new bridge. Two construction projects are under consideration: replacement of I-10 Bridge 6 January 2017 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM Volume 4 • Number 4

PHOTO BY VINH PHOTOGRAPHY and construction of Sampson Street Interchange into Westlake. Here are the steps that need to occur in order for the project to move forward. No time table has been selected as to when the steps will be completed: 1. Completion of Environmental Impact Study for bridge construction. 2. Public hearings on the new Environmental Impact Study. 3. Federal Highway Administration will decide on the appropriate design alternative for the bridge and interchange projects at the conclusion of the Environmental Impact Study. 4. Bridge design approval from Federal Highway Administration. 5. What follows is a timeline of events, provided by Phillips 66, about the EDC contamination and remediation process. • 1994: EDC leaked from an above-ground pipeline, recovery of EDC and remediation of area followed soon after. • 1995: Design and construction of a temporary groundwater recovery and treatment system. • 1996: Groundwater monitoring at Clooney Loop conducted under LDEQ Compliance Order No. WE-C-96-0011; this effort continues today on a semi-annual basis, which includes reporting semiannually to LDEQ. • 1999: Startup of current groundwater treatment plant that annually treats millions of gallons of recovered groundwater and recycles recovered EDC. • 2007: Completed groundwater and soil sampling related to potential future DOTD construction for the Sampson Street and I-10 expansion north of the Clooney Loop marine docks. • 2009: Completed investigation beneath marsh north of I-10. • 2010: Installed additional recovery wells south and north of Isles of Capri Boulevard. • 2011: Began quarterly monitoring of wells in north Clooney Loop near bridge construction area. • 2012: Submitted Risk Evaluation Corrective Action Program (RECAP) reports to LDEQ seeking approval of cleanup standards. • 2013: LDEQ approved RECAP cleanup standards. • 2016: Evaluating the feasibility of biological, chemical, physical and thermal remediation methods to enhance ongoing site remediation. Phillips 66 has been testing various remediation methods to enhance site cleanup since 2008. Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of stories that will focus on the Interstate 10 Bridge replacement project. Volume 4 • Number 4 WWW.THEVOICEOFSOUTHWESTLA.COM Jaunuary 2017 7

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