Many of the processes within an industrial facility are unfamiliar to the surrounding community. Residents see what looks like smoke coming from large towers and they may feel concern, or they see flares burning and wonder what’s happening.
In reality, the smoke-like appearance is harmless water vapor and the flaring is an environmentally-friendly way to eliminate excess pressure.
The bottom line is that industries are most profitable when product is kept safely in the pipeline, thus the goal of regulatory agencies and the industries themselves is the same: produce a product in the most environmentally-friendly way possible.
Lake Area Industry Alliance created the Industry Insider campaign to explain industrial processes to the community. By utilizing industrial employees, environmental representatives and educators, the videos are a practical way for industry to explain complex processes to the general public and provide accurate information of the industry’s approach toward environmental topics.
Plumes of a cloud-like formation can often be seen wafting through the air. Sometimes, it’s more noticeable than other times. This harmless water vapor is produced in cooling towers of local industry. These towers cool the hot water generated in the industrial process and the resulting water vapor is dissipated into the atmosphere.
Temperature, humidity, sunlight, and wind affect how quickly the water vapor is absorbed into the air.
Cooling towers are one part of an efficient system of supplying industries with the large amount of water they need for processing.
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The abundant waterways found in Southwest Louisiana were one of the reasons industries chose to locate here in the 1930s.
Because industries utilize a large amount of water in the industrial process, water treatment procedures utilize advanced biological technology to eliminate unwanted materials so water can be reused. The water is tested routinely before it’s discharged from the plant.
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Flares are a safety mechanism designed to process excess gas, which minimizes air pollution and helps prevent industrial accidents. The noise that sometimes accompanies a flare is from the steam used as a coolant. When the steam is introduced, it creates a hissing or rumbling noise.
Flaring is costly for the industrial facility, so its use is minimized as much as possible without risking safety.
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Industries in Southwest Louisiana make ingredients for products used every day.
For example, polystyrene and polyethylene are produced by area industry and used to make food storage containers, plastic wrap and automobile parts. Heart catheters and IV’s use vinyl, another ingredient made locally. If you’ve used hand sanitizer or liquid soap, you’ve probably used synthetic alcohol, a product produced by local industries. Gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, motor oil and specialty additives are made locally, making it possible for us to travel, enjoy a day on the water, or just drive across town.
Industries in Southwest Louisiana are producing many products to enrich our quality of life.
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Safety is priority among local industries. Before any job begins, multiple safety checks occur and continue throughout the job. If anything seems unsafe, employees have the right and responsibility to stop the job. If an incident should occur, highly skilled and specialized emergency response teams are in place onsite and are ready to work with area first responders. The goal is to protect ourselves, our co-workers, our families and our community, because this is our home, too.
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If there’s an incident at an industrial facility in our area, communication plans are in place for industrial facilities and local officials. Our protocols seek to create a seamless flow of information between state and local emergency officials and local industries. We take community safety seriously and we communicate quickly with all appropriate agencies.
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Liquified Natural Gas
Southwest Louisiana is the largest exporter of liquified natural gas, or LNG, in the country. Our area is not only home to several LNG facilities but also the LNG Center of Excellence at McNeese State University, putting our region on the global LNG map for energy contributions and academic leadership.
In order to transport overseas, it must be liquified, then loaded onto special LNG carriers.
Natural gas is a cleaner-burning, abundant and affordable source of energy. When LNG is converted back to natural gas, it can be used instead of coal, which reduces carbon emissions to the air by over 50%.
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