Bayou D Inde

Bayou D’Inde is located in Calcasieu Parish. As a major tributary of the Calcasieu River, the location was a convenient dumping ground for the oil and natural gas industries that moved to the area as early as the 1920s (NOAA 2023).

In the 1980’s, residents went to the EPA and LDEQ with concerns about contamination after high levels of dioxins were found in blood samples from residents (NOLA 2021). In 1987, the first restrictions were put on consuming seafood from Bayou D’Inde due to high levels of toxins like PCBs, mercury, and dioxins. In 1992, the entire Calcasieu Estuary was put under a fish consumption advisory. Swimming and other water activities were also considered unsafe. (NOAA 2023).

In 2003, the EPA agreed to work with state agencies to start the cleanup process of the estuary. In 2009, PPG, Occidental, Westlake Polymers, and Citgo were required by the state to begin the cleanup process for Bayou D’Inde (NOLA 2021). Part of the cleanup plan approved by the state in 2013 involved moving the contaminated sediment into nearby marshes, then capping the contaminates under concrete (KPLC 2015).

Another advisory was issued in 2016 when the Louisiana Department of Health and LDEQ warned people to not eat crab fat or catfish, and to limit the consumption of other fish to no more than twice a month (LDH 2016). In 2018, the cleanup plan was declared complete by LDEQ. However, the area remains under state health warnings (NOLA 2021).

In 2021, nine companies were ordered to pay $5.5 million dollars for polluting the Calcasieu Estuary, including Bayou D’Inde. The money will go to the EPA’s Hazardous Substance Superfund (KPLC 2021). In 2023, the Trustee’s of the Bayou D’Inde released a “Draft Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment” that outlines restoration projects to address the damage done by the release of hazardous waste (NOAA Restoration 2023).