EPA Finds Toxic Chemicals at Apartment Complex in Benton from Closed Factory runoff
Dioxin is a highly toxic, cancer-causing agent. The EPA has been testing soil, sediments, and water for years near the old Benton Creosote Plant.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will conduct an emergency removal action on the grounds of an apartment complex after the detection of elevated levels of dioxin contamination in the soil. It's all happening in Benton, 13 miles north of Bossier City.
The EPA had the empty field, on the grounds of the Palmetto Apartments fenced-off.
Dioxin is a highly toxic, cancer-causing agent. The EPA has been testing soil, sediments, and water for years, looking for any signs of contamination because of the now-closed Benton Creosote plant.
It’s located on the west side of North Sibley Road, while the apartment complex is on the east side.
Benton Mayor Shelly Horton says he only learned about the situation this week after seeing the fencing for himself, in an area often used by children to play. Horton was told about the likely reason for those elevated dioxin levels. “It is presumed that through drainage water over the many years, the plant’s been in existence since 1948, through various rain events and all, that some of the contamination had made its way through there, thru normal drainage channels.” The EPA informed Benton that some of the creosote residue was found in the subsurface soil.
Mayor Horton says he knows of no other contamination that has affected areas outside of the plant property ever since the EPA cleanup effort began. That came after the closure of the old creosote facility back in 2013. The mayor says the EPA’s emergency soil removal action is expected in a few weeks - but more testing is expected before the removal process begins. New soil will be brought in to replace the contaminated dirt.
Horton says he wants to get across one message to people living in and around the town of Benton: “I want the people to know that we will share any, any updated information, that we receive from the EPA or the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ).”
Horton says no residents at the Palmetto Apartments complex had to be moved because of that dioxin contamination. The EPA said they would send a written response to our questions. That has not happened yet.