DEQ orders Monolyte Labs to clean up

SLAUGHTER, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is pressuring a plant in Slaughter to act.

Monolyte Labs was destroyed by fire nearly three months ago. The cleanup process got underway immediately but suddenly stopped.

The image of fierce flames and thick black smoke are still fresh. Glenn Naquin, Sr. and his neighbors stood outside of their homes on November 19, 2012 and watched as Monolyte Labs burned.

The facility has since been leveled. The soil is covered in soot. The property is filled with waste containers. Meadowood Dr., the road to homes behind the plant, is still closed.

"This is our only way out and it's our main way out and they haven't told us when they are going to open the road. Sounds like from the last meeting, it's going to be a pretty good while yet," Naquin said.

Town Mayor Robert Jackson explained, "There's a fiber optic cable in the ditch. There's a water main at the surface of the ditch. Financially, it's just too big of a liability to have it open."

As for the cleanup process, Jackson said, his patience with Monolyte is also wearing thin.

"They are working but it's not fast enough. We have issues and Monolyte's budget, from what I can tell, can't address the issues that need to be addressed," Jackson said.

The mayor said Monolyte does not plan to rebuild. But he is concerned they don't plan to clean up either.

"We had a company on it, on a daily basis, there was something being done there every day. Progress was being taken but now it's been a month without anything," Jackson said.

DEQ spokesman, Rodney Mallet, said Monolyte has until the end of the week to start moving the waste off site. If they don't, he said, the agency will begin working with federal partners to figure out the best path forward.

Monolyte Labs released the following statement Wednesday night:

"LDEQ has not taken over the site cleanup. Monolyte is continuing site cleanup activities, with LDEQ oversight. Sometime within the week, Monolyte hopes to begin moving previously containerized waste materials offsite for disposal at one or more properly permitted facilities. Monolyte currently has no plans to reopen at this location."

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