BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A man is facing charges for an incident that caused Kincaid Avenue to be shut down for several days in April 2019.
Investigators with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality arrested John Louis Hardy, 68, of Baton Rouge, on charges of felony illegal discharges of pollutants to waters of the state, felony illegal disposal of substance that endangers or that could endanger human health, and simple criminal damage to property.
Hardy purchased a warehouse at 5055 Choctaw Drive in April 2017. Investigators say the warehouse was a former tannery located adjacent to Hardy’s property located in the 2500 block of Kincaid Avenue.
Two years later on April 8, 2019, LDEQ Emergency Response personnel and the Baton Rouge Fire Department responded to an odor complaint at the corner of Choctaw Drive and Kincaid Avenue.
Witnesses at the scene described several men, employed by Hardy, moving drums and containers from the former tannery and dumping them on the driveway outside of the warehouse. Some of the liquid substances flowed into a nearby ditch and began emitting a rotten egg odor.
LDEQ Emergency Response personnel, along with members of the Baton Rouge Fire Department, monitored the area for hydrogen sulfide and found elevated readings of this toxic gas throughout the area during the incident.
As a result, the Baton Rouge Police Department closed Kincaid Avenue to all traffic for several days after the incident. The City-Parish of East Baton Rouge paid more than $300,000 for remediation of the area.
“Illegal dumping of wastes into the waters of the state will not be tolerated, and LDEQ will continue working with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to prosecute violators to the fullest extent of the law,” LDEQ Secretary Dr. Chuck Carr Brown said.
If convicted, Hardy faces up to 23 years in prison and a maximum fine of $160,000.