SAINT BERNARD PARISH, La. (WGNO) — The smell of oil permeates Bayou Bienvenue and the neighborhoods surrounding it in Arabi.
“We received a call of suspicious activity which was an odor which something appeared to be leaking from a tank, at the site, the Entergy site,” said St. Bernard Parish Sheriff James Pohlmann
After receiving the call Sunday morning, the sheriff’s office contacted Entergy.
The odor was coming from an oil leak that released an estimated 20,000 gallons of oil into Bayou Bienvenue.
The sheriff’s office says this was no accident.
“It appears that some type of plug was removed from a tank which caused the spillage out on the ground, not certain if that was criminal damage to property or theft,” said Sheriff Pohlmann.
As the sheriff’s office continued its investigation, it was determined that the valves of two large oil-filled transformers were removed. Environmental cleanup crews spent hours on Monday consolidating and extracting the oil in the water.
The sheriff’s office now asking for the public’s help to identify the people responsible.
“The best evidence man is somebody seeing suspicious activity, whether they just capture it by seeing it or captured it on camera. Just call us and we’ll come out and collect that evidence as well,” said Sheriff Pohlmann.
Sheriff Pohlmann says he believes the crime happened early Sunday morning and says witnesses report seeing two suspicious men in the area before the oil leak.
WGNO reached out to Entergy for more information but we were told no one was available.