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News of the Acadian-Pontchartrain NAWQA
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Updated as of April 20, 2002.

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News of the Acadian-Pontchartrain NAWQA

April 20, 2002

Major Site Updates

We've just finished revamping our webpages for easier access with alternative browsers, as required by Section 508 amendment to the Rehabilitation Act. This should make our site more readable by many kinds and ages of browsers, in addition to special-purpose browsers.

There are several new sub-pages describing the many studies we've been conducting. We're also wrapping up data analysis and quality-assurance for our High Intensity Phase, which lasted from fall 1998 to fall 2001. In the coming year we will be publishing several reports for these studies.

July 17, 2000

NAWQA Water Quality Workshop at the Burden Conference Center, July 13, 2000

Our study unit spent a day with local water-quality professionals and other interested parties, sharing our preliminary results and discussing issues related to water resources in southern Louisiana. Mike Dunne wrote an article about our conference in the Baton Rouge Advocate.

Speakers and Presentations:

July 3, 2000

Train derailment near Eunice, LA, interferes with water chemistry sampling

On May 27, 2000, a 113-car train derailed near the town of Eunice, forcing a 6-day evacuation of more than 3,000 residents. The train was transporting a wide variety of hazardous chemicals. About 34 of the cars derailed, accompanied by at least two explosions. The accident occurred about one mile northeast of our basic fixed site Bayou des Cannes near Eunice (on US-Hwy 190).

Agencies involved in protection, assessment, and cleanup of the site include the LA State Police, LA Department of Enivironmental Quality, LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, US Environmental Protection Agency, LA Department of Agriculture and Forestry, and the Federal Railroad Administration. Although no chemicals drained directly into Bayou des Cannes, the bayou was blocked by an earthen dam less than 100 yards upstream from our sampling site at the US-Hwy 190 bridge to reduce the possibility of contamination.

Some of the chemicals involved include:

  • Acrylic acid
  • Methylene chloride
  • Dichloropropane
  • Toluene diisocyanate

Currently, our study unit has no plans to sample water for any possible contamination of the bayou by these or other hazardous volatile chemicals. The bayou will not be routinely sampled for our usual suite of chemical constituents as long as the dam remains in place. Sampling will resume when the dam is removed. Habitat characterization of the site was incomplete, and will not be continued due to the extensive flooding of the characterization area.

The Baton Rouge Advocate has a few online stories:

June 1, 2000

Welcome to a brand-new website!

These pages have been created to allow the public to learn about the Acadian-Pontchartrain study unit of the National Water Quality Assessment Program. We hope that they give you an understanding of this project. There may be a few aesthetic changes here and there, but news of our activities, as well as changes in webpage content will be noted in this section.

Rob and Roland have drilled and developed wells in southwest Louisiana for a survey of groundwater wells in areas of rice agriculture. They started sampling ground-water quality in December of 1999.

In November of 1998, Stan, Van, and Lane started monthly sampling of water chemistry in our streams and bayous. In March of 1999, they began twice-monthly sampling in order to characterize the effects of agricultural practices. They're back to monthly sampling for the fall and winter, but intensive sampling will resume in March.

Algae and invertebrate communities were sampled in the early spring of 1999, and collection of fish for characterization community structure and abundance occurred in the fall of 1999. We are currently conducting surveys to characterize the available habitats for fish, invertebrates, and algae. Species lists of the fish community surveys have been posted to the data and publications page.

Contaminants in bed sediments and fish tissues are almost finished being analyzed. A publication and data release are in progress.

Thanks for your patience!

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
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