NEW ORLEANS -- Department of Environmental Quality inspectors are investigating a Valero Energy Corp. leak in a transfer line that released about 1,000 pound of sulfuric acid into the Mississippi River, a DEQ spokesman confirmed Friday.

The leak happened at its Norco St. Charles refinery Thursday.

The leak was on a transfer pump while transferring sulfuric acid from a storage tank to a process unit. The amount leaked is approximately 65 gallons, or just more than one drum, and it occured over 80 minutes.

DEQ spokesman Tim Beckstrom said a department scientist investigating the incident does not see a public safety concern with the leak.

'Acids such as sulfuric are capable of being neutralized quite quickly, given the PH,' said DEQ spokesman Tim Beckstrom. 'The leak occurred over 80 minutes, so it was not a sudden large surge, but more like a gallon per minute.'

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