Lake Charles industry to pay $5.5 million for Calcasieu contamination

The Calcasieu Ship Channel (Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard)

Nine Lake Charles area chemical companies and oil refineries have agreed to pay the federal government $5.5 million for their contamination of the northern Calcasieu River estuary, reports

A complaint filed with the settlement details how the companies were responsible for pollutants that flowed from discharge pipes at levels either in violation of federal and state permits or before such limits were set. The chemicals entered the water through accidents and seeped into groundwater from unlined waste disposal impoundments at some plants that began operating as early as 1920.

The settlement, announced this month by the Justice Department, is the latest in a series of federal and state legal actions against more than a dozen industrial plants in Lake Charles, Sulphur, Westlake and Mossville. The settlement will partially pay for the Environmental Protection Agency’s response. See the full story.