The owner of three industries based in two south Louisiana parishes – Lafayette and St. Tammy – was charged Mar. 9 with three violation of the state’s pollutant discharge elimination system ordinances.

Bernard P. Robichaux, 47, faces three separate charges related to the leak of an estimated 10 barrels of oil from a 400-barrel tank, said Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi.

He reportedly is the sole owner of Metairie  Energy Co. Inc. in Mandeville and BRP Enterprises In. and BPR Energy Inc. in Lafayette.

Stassi said the spill occurred at one of the companies’ Petro-Hurst Oil in Raman, in the northern end of Iberville Parish

He also said that since the incident was discovered, the state Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Louisiana State Police HazMat unit and Iberville Fire Department have been to the site.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, Parish President Mitchell Ourso, state Sen. Rick Ward and state Rep. Chad Brown have all been informed of the alleged leak.  

A grand jury indicted Robichaux on one count of a violation of the Louisiana pollutant discharge elimination “when the offenders knowingly violated a provision(s)  of the Louisiana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System by discharging or allowing to be discharged a pollutant into any waters of the state.”

The other two charges were based on the alleged original violation of the oil spill and include “upon learning of the discharge of a pollutant … the offenders failed to notify the Louisiana Department of Environmental quality of the appropriate agencies.”+

The final charge of the grand jury is that the company “knowingly violated a provision(s) of the Louisiana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System by allowing, suffering, permitting, or causing the unpermitted pollution of the waters of the state and by failing to take necessary, prompt, remedial action pursuant to appropriate regulations adopted under the Louisiana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.”

Stassi said the spill cleanup was being handled by (Environmental safe and Health of Port Allen, ES&H Industrial Group of Laplace ES&H Consulting Service of Morgan City} and should be completed by the time this issue of the Post South is distributed.