Louisiana chemical plant releases hydrochloric acid; shelter in place has been lifted.

acid leak

HMN-Shelter in place has been lifted after a Louisiana chemical plant experiences a Hydrochloric Acid release.


WESTLAKE, LA (KPLC) – A shelter-in-place has been lifted at Westlake Chemical north and areas of SASOL following a hydrochloric acid lead at Westlake Chemical.

Joe Andrepont, Westlake Chemical spokesman, said that the leak has been stopped and the unit shut down. The cause of the leak is being investigated.

While no injuries were reported at Westlake Chemical, two contract workers at SASOL were taken to a hospital for observation, according to Pete Symons, corporate affairs director with SASOL.

Andrepont said that the hydrochloric leak was located off the top of an exchanger around 3:30 p.m. Westlake’s plant located between Old Spanish Trail and Houston River Road. The plant is located inside SASOL’s operating complex.

Andrepont said Westlake issued a precautionary shelter-in-place for Westlake Chemical and areas of nearby SASOL. The fence line was monitored and “very low” amounts of hydrochloric acid were detected.

The shelter-in-place was lifted at 4:43 p.m.

Chip Swearngen, director of corporate communications and government relations at Westlake Chemical, released the following statement:

“The North plant of Westlake Chemical’s Lake Charles operations today experienced a small leak of hydrochloric acid following a power outage at a neighboring industrial facility that impacted the Westlake facility. The leak has been contained. A precautionary shelter-in-place that was issued for the adjacent industrial facility has been lifted. The company is not aware of any offsite impacts to the community resulting from the chemical release.”

CORRECTION: The Calcasieu Office of Emergency Preparedness first reported to KPLC that the leak was at SASOL.

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