Nine different local Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana chemical companies and industries have agreed to pay the federal government $5.5 million dollars for their part in the contamination of the Northern Calcasieu River estuary.

The Justice Department just announced the agreement with Lake Charles, Sulphur, Westlake, and Mossville industrial plants. The federal and state legal action was placed on these industries for their part in the contamination and polluting of the Calcasieu river basin with toxic chemicals and heavy metals in the water.

The suit alleges the industries contaminated the water with chemicals like mercury and dioxin. However, the $5.5. million dollar settlement is not for cleanup of the pollution but for the EPA's response costs to the issue.

The suit did not disclose how much the estimate was to the industries that will pay for the actual cleanup of the Northern Calcasieu river estuary.

There are still posted health warnings in place for this part of the Calcasieu against eating fish and crabs form this part of the river or even touching the bottom of the river in its sediment.

The EPA started their investigation back in March of 1999 and the main areas focused on were the Calcasieu river estuary, Bayou D'Inde, Coon Island loop, Prien Lake in Lake Charles, and part of the river that runs between the salt water barrier North of Lake Charles to Moss Lake.

According to,

The companies agreeing to the settlement are Axiall Corp., CITGO Petroleum Corp., Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC, Bridgestone Americas Inc., Firestone Polymers LLC, Occidental Chemical Corp., OXY USA Inc., PPG Industries Inc. and Westlake Polymers LLC.

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