New Orleans East Chef Menteur Landfill

Media Advisory–September 11, 2007
After Katrina, the residents of New Orleans East were shocked that the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) and the Mayor of New Orleans approved dumping of potentially hazardous household materials at the Chef Menteur Landfill at 166000 Chef Menteur Highway without first placing a leachate collection liner. It posed long-term threats to the ecology of the nearby Bayou Savage National Wildlife Refuge, the Maxtent Canal, and the water supply of the residential community living within 1 mile of the landfill.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) has since closed the landfill, but residents and environmental groups are now opposing the approved closure plan. This closure plan retains waste in the cell, which does not resolve the long-term impact of the waste to the environment and water. Experts have cited the presence of the chemical contaminants, Hydrogen Sulfide and Arsenic, in the waste.

Wilma Subra, nationally respected chemist and consultant for the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) states, "We are opposed to the closure plan because of possible leaching of the chemical contaminants Hydrogen Sulfide and Arsenic into the soil, into the Maxtent Canal and possible migration of these contaminants into the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge. We are also concerned that this type of closure will degrade the wetlands that border the Chef Menteur Landfill."

Leslie March, Chair of the Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club exclaims, "Look on the map, this landfill is within 1 mile of Village DÕLest and Viet Village Versailles, a community comprised of predominantly African-American and Vietnamese-American residents. It is also an area that flooded during Katrina. The only equity in this situation is clean closure."

Senator Ann Duplessis arranged a hearing with the Senate Environmental Committee in anticipation that they will pass a resolution that restricts closure to "Clean Closure". If passed, it will amend the current federal procedure at the state level. Such a restriction will help the State of Louisiana move forward towards building a greener state and establishing stronger environmental policies regarding waste disposal for the future.

What: Senate Committee Hearing

When: Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Time: 10:00 am

Where: New Orleans City Council Chamber, City Hall
Contacts:

Camille Tuason Mata, Environmental Justice Coordinator, MQVN CDC 504-255-9170
Leslie March. Chair of the Delta Sierra Club 985-249-1160
Wilma Subra, Consultant and Chemist, LEAN subracom@aol.com

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