Lake Charles water plant back on-line

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The George H. West water plant on North Ryan street is back on-lin

according to Superintendent Russell Buckels.

A common mistake at the plant earlier this week forced the plant to stop service.

Tuesday afternoon the wrong chemical was offloaded into an isolated tank.

"It's a really rare type of incident to happen like this," says Buckels.

One of the contract vendors for the plant started offloading what he thought was Caustic Soda.

But when he noticed the odor of the chemical he immediately stopped offloading.

At that point the vendor knew it was not Caustic Soda he was unloading into the storage tank.

"He actually picked up the wrong chemical, but had the right paper work for the chemical we use," says Buckels.

Caustic Soda, which maintains the corrosion control and adjusts the pH level, is what the vendor thought he was unloading into the tank.

But officials now know the chemical mistakenly offloaded is a toxic chemical referred to as Cresol.

The chemical is used to manufacture products such as break fluids, insecticides, and disinfectants.

The Public Works Department says that just because the plant is temporarily out of service, that doesn't mean citizens are at risk.

"It was caught in time and it was an isolated tank," says Buckels. "There are 5 other water treatment plants that serve the city, and none of those were affected."

The Public Works Department plans to replace the entire tank sometime next week.

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