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.
Economics of Environmentalism
Industrial facilities operate like any other business; they look for ways to increase productivity and minimize waste. This naturally translates into production methods and equipment that are environmentally friendly. Local industry reduces, reuses, recycles and treats nearly all of the waste that is produced. Being efficient and productive is environmentally friendly and it’s also good for business.back to top
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.back to top
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.back to top
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.back to top
Local industries provide Southwest Louisiana with a strong economic foundation. These industries began locating here in the 1930s thanks to the deep-water channel and the Port of Lake Charles.
Because of this area’s access to raw materials, abundant water for the industrial process, rail lines, a skilled work force and our port, this area was a natural choice for industrial expansion.
World War II necessitated the production of fuel and supplies for the war, much of these were produced in Southwest Louisiana.back to top
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.back to top
Local industries continue to meet or exceed the strenuous ozone standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Industry is heavily regulated by they aren’t the only contributors to ground-level ozone formation; local residents and businesses play a role, too.
Ground-level ozone affects air quality, and while industries are in compliance, the rest of the community may not be, which affects all of us. Compounds from cars, lawnmowers, industry, and fuels combine and bake in the summer heat, creating ground-level ozone.
Here are a few tips for residents and businesses to keep in mind during the heat of the summer:
- Refuel your vehicle during the morning or evening, avoid the hottest part of the day.
- Do not spill gasoline while refueling.
- Keep tires properly inflated.
- Seal containers of household and garden chemicals.
Ozone monitors in Southwest Louisiana have recorded some of the lowest levels in the state. Together, we can keep it that way.
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.back to top
Local industries provide good paying jobs with great benefits to thousands of people in Southwest Louisiana. There is a constant need for new employees thanks to expansion and retirement.
As industries expand, there is a need for short-term construction workers as well as long-term employees. Experienced workers are needed on an ongoing basis. Now is a good time to train for a job at area industries.back to top