At a meeting with Rubbertown plant operators Tuesday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer urged all chemical companies in the area to be more transparent with residents.
The meeting comes a week after an explosion at the Carbide Industries plant that killed two workers and closed streets for several hours.
Fischer met with the companies to discuss creating a new notification system and ways to keep the community better informed.
Carbide Industries General Manager John Gant says the plants need to do a better job of alerting residents about accidents and educating them about the chemicals housed in their facilities
“There’s a lot of anger and understandably. They have a right to know what’s happening and there was a delay in getting notification out to them,” he says.
On Monday, Fischer met with over 200 residents in the neighborhood to hear their concerns about the explosion and possible health risks.
Residents told the mayor that the neighborhood has been neglected by city officials and plant operators for decades, adding that the city’s inadequate warning system should serve as a wake-up call. There was also concern that Carbide was delayed in updating an emergency hotline created to alert residents about chemical leaks.
Gant says residents have the right to know what’s happening immediately and the company will do a better job of outreach in the future.
“The new notification system was discussed, where to go with that. Education of the community, we talked quite a bit about that. And just ways to get more engaged,” he says.
Federal officials from the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board have arrived to investigate the explosion. Gant says Carbide has launched its own investigation and is also cooperating along with Kentucky OSHA officials and local fire investigators to develop possible theories.
Fischer has announced plans to purchase a system that will give residents faster updates about industrial accidents. The city has also taken over the Rubbertown phone hotline that notifies residents about chemical leaks.