Jun 17, 2014 7:13 PM by Akeam Ashford
New Iberia couple Richard and Beverly Hayes are outraged after learning their backyard could be contaminated with hazardous waste material.
Food-N-Fun convenience store was storing 400 gallons of wastewater when 75 gallons of a mixture of oil and diesel fuel leaked into the soil, and onto the couple's property, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
In 2009, the New Iberia City Council granted the convenience store a permit to build a 5,000-square-foot warehouse to store "old equipment and office records," according to documents obtained by KATC.
Richard Hayes said his wife noticed a strong diesel smell earlier this month when she was picking fruit in their backyard.
"We've had a tremendous amount of rain since June 2nd, so the contamination has percolated into the soil," Hayes said.
Hayes decided to look over his fence, and that's when he noticed three large containers containing what he said was a brown liquid.
"My first reaction was, 'who did this?' but also, 'who permitted this to happen?'" Hayes said.
He immediately sent a cease and desist letter to the New Iberia City Government who permitted the storage, trying to stop what was happening.
"That operation should have been shut down and the permit revoked because of violation," Hayes said. "In my opinion, they're operating without a permit."
Dead grass and plants line the fence between the properties after 75 gallons of water, oil and diesel fuel leaked into the soil.
DEQ has already begun testing the soil where the containers sat.
Their next move is to come on Hayes' side of the fence and test his soil for contamination.
"Until this happened, we had no idea what was going on across on the other side of the fence," Hayes said.
Hayes said the city was supposed to notify him when Food-N-Fun got its permit back in 2009, but he said that never happened.
New Iberia Mayor Pro-Tem Dan Doerle said the city is looking into Hayes' concerns, and depending on the outcome of the DEQ investigation, the city council may get involved.