Baldwin again seeking solution to rail spur woes

A small carbon black spill on a rail spur that has long been problematic to Baldwin residents is being investigated.

Mayor Wayne Breaux said the incident occurred last weekend. “We’re not sure where it came from, but there definitely was a pile of an abnormal nature that’s not usually there,” Breaux said. “It’s beyond the normal situation that exists there.”

Residents have long complained that carbon black in rail cars parked along the spur that runs parallel to La. 83 is carried by wind and rain into their yards and homes. Railroad officials have offered only minor remedies in answer to town government’s efforts to halt the issues in the past.

Breaux said the Department of Environmental Quality was contacted and met with him at the site, with railroad officials. DEQ will sample and test the material, then trace it back to the company that manufactured it, the mayor said.

Anthony Gibson, a local resident, said some carbon black plants are easy to work with on cleanup and damages, others are not.

Breaux said there is a person on the spur site that makes sure rail car caps are closed before they are moved. “I think they’ve been good about that,” he said. “I think they were trying to move these cars to higher ground, and I wouldn’t doubt that some of the procedures they normally do were not adhered to and somebody let something slip by.”

The mayor also said he would push for the companies to construct a solid wooden fence between the rail and the residences. “I’ll take that ball and run with it,” he said.

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