Part of East Bernard Hwy closed five hours Friday because of a release of an oil-like liquid sprayed on vehicles and the road from Valero Meraux Refinery

Posted: October 25th, 2013 | Filed under: Announcements, News Releases

oil-009A section of East St. Bernard Highway in front of the Valero Meraux Refinery was closed from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday because of a release of an oil-like liquid from the refinery which sprayed the roadway and vehicles, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.

A number of sheriff’s vehicles, at least two school buses and numerous other vehicles were struck by the dark spray as the passed on the roadway or were parked in a lot across the street and south of railroad tracks that parallel the highway.

No injuries were reported, the sheriff reported, and refinery officials had spoken to a number of vehicle owners about having vehicles cleaned. The exact number of vehicles affected wasn’t immediately known.

About a one-mile section of East St. Bernard Highway from Jacob Drive in eastern Chalmette to Munster Drive in Meraux was closed by the Sheriff’s Office because of the problem, Sheriff Pohlmann said.

State Police hazardous materials officials were on the scene as well as the Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department.

A private firm, U.S. Environmental Services, was called to the scene and sand was placed on the road to absorb the liquid, then removed afterward so the highway could be opened.

Most motorists use East Judge Perez Drive in the area, which wasn’t affected by the release.

There were few details on what caused the incident, but a tank at the refinery reportedly had a problem which caused the spray of liquid.