Gretna chemical company’s license may be revoked _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Gretna City Hall seen here in March 2014.

The Gretna City Council will decide Monday whether to revoke the occupational license of Malkem International, which makes cleaning products at 74 First St. and has a history of violating state environmental regulations.

The company was found during a July 17 inspection to have barrels of chemicals that were not properly identified and a materials safety sheet that was outdated and incomplete. It also did not have required plans and permits to discharge wastewater, according to documents from the state Department of Environmental Quality.

DEQ personnel accompanied officials from the Gretna and Jefferson Parish fire departments on the inspection, which was spurred by a resident’s complaint that barrels along the company’s fence line were not marked or identified in any way, said Azalea Roussell, a Gretna planning, zoning and licensing official.

According to the company’s website, Malkem stores raw materials and finished products, which include industrial cleaners, detergents, waxes, solvents, degreasers, and agricultural and water-treatment products.

Mayor Belinda Constant said the company will have to persuade the council Monday that it should be allowed to continue operating.

“If he’s made a significant improvement, then he’ll be permitted to resume business, but that will be decided by the council, not the administration,” Constant said.

Malkem President Michael Manning, who is expected to be at the hearing, was not available for comment Friday.

Roussell said Manning has met with the city since the inspection and the company appears to be making progress, though she noted there have been compliance issues in the past.

According to documents on file with DEQ, the company was found in 1990 to be mixing chemicals in a manner that caused them to spill onto a grassy area next to a concrete apron where the work was taking place.

In 2003, it was cited for having blending and storage tanks for an herbicide enhancer in the yard, and in 2005 it temporarily lost its permit to discharge stormwater after it was found to not be doing proper sampling of the water and documenting its findings. It also was not maintaining a stormwater pollution prevention plan.

Constant said she hopes the situation can be resolved.

“We don’t take joy in having people cease and desist business. That’s not what we want to see people have to do in Gretna,” she said. “I just hope it’s his intention to clean it up.”

Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.