Friday, July 29, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

rain, rain and more rain in the forecast

Recent rain illustrates the continuing issues of refinery storm water run-off.

Aside from inadequate storm water capacity at the processing campus and issues of refinery parking lot rain run-off, homeowners report the continuing flood problems from Murphy-owned properties in the neighborhood. These properties were purchased by Murphy Oil through the former voluntary buyup program pursuant the crude oil spill case, Turner v Murphy.

Murphy Oil remediated some, but not all, properties in an arbitrarily designated area. Properties outside this area were not remediated. The remediation consisted of the removal of about six inches of top soil/oil and the addition of a layer of river-sand fill.

That river-sand fill was not always to grade and not always properly sloped to drain to the street. Coupled with lack of chainwalls, some of these Murphy-owned lots now drain onto adjacent homeowner’s properties, causing flooding. The inadequate fill and grading also causes some Murphy-owned lots to hold water and breed mosquitoes.

The Parish began enforcing local code for similar issues with LRA/LLT lots and has been requested to do the same with the Murphy-owned lots. We are entering the rainy, active tropical storm season and hope for timely improvements.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

oil-water discharges

Reuters reports no flood impact on New Orleans area refineries.

Some oil refineries are allowed to make "emergency discharges" into neighborhood canals to prevent the processing plants from flooding. Instead, the oil companies should be required to increase the plant's storm water capacity.  Rain is a given in Southeast Louisiana.

The Spill, Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan and the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans could include containment berms around storm water basins, or "ponds", and additional storm water storage tank capacity, so the oil refineries do not foul the neighborhood canals and nearby Central Wetlands.

The Murphy Oil Meraux refinery is permitted under its NPDES/LPDES to store oily-water or process water in its storm water ponds during rain events. According to WWL-TV New Orleans, the nearby Chalmette High School rain gauge measured 5.34 inches of rain the morning of July 18 2011 and measured over 8 inches of rain by the 10pm newscast.

Without berms, the storm water ponds reach capacity sooner, and the Murphy Oil Meraux refinery is permitted to make an "emergency" discharge into the neighborhood canals known as the 20 arpent canal and the Meraux canal. These canals meander throughout several neighborhoods before discharging into the sensitive Central Wetlands of Lake Borgne. The refinery could avoid the situation by planning for rain with berms and additional storage tank capacity. At present, it seems the Murphy Oil Meraux refinery LPDES permit identifies only two storm water tanks, which based on compliance history, are inadequate.

NOTE:  Unable to verify through Louisiana DEQ if in fact Murphy Oil made such an emergency discharge on July 18, 2011. What has been found is a report to the National Response Center concerning an oil sheen and use of booms in the 20 arpent canal.

The weather forecast later this week:   Cloudy with a chance of oil

Murphy Oil Meraux refinery uses sandbags instead of berms around the storm water ponds, which receive oily-water or process water during rain events.  Photo December 2009

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More sidewalks

There's nothing like being able to walk again in the neighborhood on sidewalks.

With the Mississippi River water levels returning to normal, work has begun again to replace the sidewalks  removed by Murphy Oil during demolition of houses sold in the former voluntary buyup.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Candidate Forum


Political Forum
Sheriff and Parish President Candidates

August 11, 2011 6PM 

Open to Public
Limited Seating

Attendees must confirm seating: contact

Attendees will receive a confirmation number which must be presented at the door for seating.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Murphy Oil's Lot Next Door Properties

 Murphy Oil has recently purchased several properties in the residential neighborhood around it's Meraux Louisiana refinery.

  These residential-zoned lots were acquired through the SBPG HRQL "Lot Next Door Program" , which redistributes LLT properties.  LLT properties were acquired by the State of Louisiana Land Trust after the hurricane Katrina through the Federal Road Home Program.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Noise and Hearing Loss

Long Term Occupational Noise Exposure

In essence, evidence of noise levels that workers might encounter at completely different facilities was not sufficiently similar to evidence of noise workers encountered at the Murphy facility in light of all the variables involved in each unique workplace. The evidence also amply supported causation where it included sound survey evidence produced by Murphy (for the earliest periods at issue Murphy had failed to take noise readings and retain records as mandated by OSHA), workers often worked longer hours and in proximity to more pieces of loud machinery than reflected on “dose projections” as part of Murphy’s sound surveys, and expert evidence related each plaintiff’s condition to well-understood mechanisms of permanent hearing loss. Likewise, Murphy failed to comply with OSHA regulations of the Hearing Conservation Amendment of 1971 and failed to implement a hearing protection program for its workers for many years.

Becker v. Murphy Oil Corp.,  No 2010-CA-1519 (La. App. 4th Cir. July 7, 2011)(Belsome, J.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Community Meeting with DOJ

The public is invited to a community meeting with the U.S. Dept. of Justice
Sunday evening, July 10, 2011 at 6:30pm at 2425 Beachhead Lane, Violet, LA

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sidewalk update

Sidewalk Update

July 5, 2011 Council Meeting    Item #26 Motion to Discuss Sidewalks on Jacob Drive
(Discussion of replacing the sidewalks removed by Murphy Oil during demolition of houses sold to the refinery under a former voluntary buyup)

Motion by Henderson, Seconded by Landry

around the time mark 2:12:07 Item 26 Motion to Discuss Sidewalks on Jacob Drive


Landry: I believe most of the issues on Jacob Drive have been resolved.  Asked Mr. Henderson to chime in. Several homeowners concerned sidewalks were not going to be replaced. Working in conjunction with Murphy Oil that there is going to be cooperation through FEMA to reinstate and put sidewalks back for those residents. {The sidewalks were removed by Murphy Oil during demolition of homes sold to the oil company in a voluntary buyup offer after the 2005 crude oil spill}.

Henderson: conversation with Parish President about sidewalks on the four streets closest to Murphy Oil, FEMA is willing to pay [for sidewalks] for the houses that are still there;  I believe there are two lots around the houses that are still there [on Jacob Drive].  Also, in conjunction with this, Murphy Oil said they would pay for those two houses to get sidewalks.
NOTE:  Stated as a general belief by a number of residents, although this may resolve part of a sidewalk issue, the noise and vibration concerns continue including new reports of claims of structural damage along with pollution, drainage problems, and other issues, not only on Jacob Drive, but throughout the neighborhoods around Murphy.  While there have been noted improvements, there is still a lot of ground to cover. 

Another issue of concern mentioned earlier in the council  meeting was the care needed to prune live oak tree branches on Jacob Drive rather than just pull the branches with the road work heavy equipment.

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