Sibley Lake fish consumption advisory ends after 30 years

Fish consumption advisory on Sibley Lake lifted after decades of work by state agencies. Photo by Hannah Richardson

After more than 30 years of sampling lake sediments and fish, the La. Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) have lifted the fish consumption advisory for Sibley Lake as of Dec. 21, 2018.

The fish consumption ban had been in place since 1989. The ban resulted from the contamination of Sibley Lake by PCBs for 4.3 square miles at the drainage outlet of a pipeline company. The decision to lift the fish consumption advisory came after decades of work by the state agencies along with extensive remediation work by Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP). Based on contamination first reported to LDEQ by TGP, LDEQ issued a Compliance Order to the company in August 1988.

The La. Water Science Center issued the following ban: Instructions on proper fish trimming, cleaning and cooking must be followed. Select one of the two options: largemouth bass or crappie-one meal/week; or channel catfish, stripped bass-one meal/month. Do not eat shad, gar or carp. Issued February 1989, reviewed June 1994, revised January 1996 and reviewed March 2000. The announcement comes from a release  from Jean Lockwood Kelly, Public Information Officer for La. DEQ.

No one currently involved with water quality at a state regulatory agency can recall another instance where a fish consumption advisory issued due to chemical contamination has been rescinded in Louisiana. “I am proud to see one of our state’s impaired water bodies returned to its designated uses. This was no small feat. The long process to restore Sibley Lake demonstrates the care and commitment of the LDEQ, LDH and LDWF staffs to protecting the public from possible health risks of contamination, and making it safe for everyone to now enjoy,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said.

“This is a singular achievement. It is a victory for environmental remediation, a major battle we have won in the effort to clean all of Louisiana’s waterbodies,” LDEQ Secretary Dr. Chuck Carr Brown said.  “Thanks to a coordinated effort between multiple state agencies, our state, the