JEFFERSON PARISH - An update came Wednesday regarding the stench and air particles Jefferson Parish residents have been experiencing. Some feel they're not getting as many answers as they'd like. It's been an ongoing battle for many which is why many went to the Council Meeting to get some clarity.
Tough questions were asked at Wednesday's Jefferson Parish Council meeting as Louisiana DEQ representatives spoke on their findings regarding several issues residents have been dealing with.
First, a foul-smell believed to be coming from the parish landfill.
"We inspect that facility at least five times a week," said LaDEQ Secretary, Chuck Carr Brown. "Right now there's no doubt in my mind that right now the major source is the Jefferson Parish landfill."
They aren't ruling out the possibility there could be other sources. Mike Algero, with LaDEQ Surveillance, spoke about how multiple inspections have been done at multiple facilities. Their inspections though, have found a "laundry-list of violations" at the parish landfill.
"This facility is the only one that's significantly out of compliance," he said. "That's why there's so much focus on it."
The biggest, a problem with the system used to trap gases like Hydrogen Sulfide and Methane. Something LaDEQ says should be fixed soon with new piping.
"They'll start to pump the liquid out and then hopefully the gas collection systems work properly," Brown said. "And then you should start to see reductions in odors anywhere in the surrounding area."
The other issue addressed: 'dust-like' particles in the air that residents have complained to parish and state officials as well as to Eyewitness News. LaDEQ officials say they've taken at least one sample that's currently being tested, and are waiting for the results to come back. In the meantime though, they believe it's 'grain-dust' coming from vessels on the river.
"There are three buoys in the river and ships moore up to these buoys," said Algero. "The mid-stream loaders transport commodities like grain, could be fertilizer, or other materials from barges into the hold of the ship. They have clam shell buckets which remove the grain or the fertilizer from these barges, they transport it into the hold of the ship. So the workplace practice is, you make sure when you're transporting the grain you're not overfilling the bucket. You're dropping the grain, you're only opening that bucket, when the clam shell is below the hold of the ship. When we got complaints early on about this, we confirmed they had issues because they were opening the clam shell bucket well above the hold of the ship, so you get more dust being emitted."
It's something resident, Michael O'Brien, says his drone video shows is also being done improperly.
"With my drone, I have footage clearly showing violations," he said.
He attended the meeting hoping for answers, however, like other residents there, he left with little hope anything will be resolved.
"I'm leaving just like I came here," he said. "I don't see anything being answered. I'm frustrated with the smell going on and someone needs to stand up and fight back."
So what's next? The new piping at the landfill, LaDEQ says, could be replaced as soon as this weekend. As far as the particles in the air, they're waiting for the sample results to come back before determining what action needs to be taken.