What do disposable diapers, electronic components, football helmets and automotive parts have in common? They are all made from the basic and specialty chemicals produced by the Louisiana employees of Dow.
Dow came to Louisiana in 1956, drawn by the state’s abundant natural resources, excellent transportation network, deep water port, easy access to the Mississippi River, dedicated workforce, and available land. With the purchase of land in Iberville and West Baton Rouge parishes, Dow established Louisiana Operations - its first site in the state.
Today, Dow Louisiana is the largest petrochemical company in the state, providing jobs for more than 4,000 Dow and contract employees, and pumping over $1 billion into the state’s economy each year.
At four sites in Louisiana – Plaquemine, Grand Bayou, Hahnville, and Greensburg, – Dow manufactures more than 100 basic and specialty chemicals that are shipped worldwide. These products serve as building blocks for hundreds of everyday products from plastics to soaps, detergents, food additives, cosmetics, shampoos, and pharmaceuticals.
In each of our locations, Dow is a part of the surrounding community, providing jobs, economic stability, and striving to maintain and enhance the quality of life. Committed to the principles of sustainable development, Dow and its employees in Louisiana seek to balance economic, environmental, and social responsibility as we invest in our communities and encourage them to invest in themselves.
Louisiana Operations is one of the largest petrochemical facilities in Louisiana. The integrated manufacturing facility near Plaquemine and brine operations in Grand Bayou comprise the largest employer in Iberville and West Baton Rouge parishes and plays an active role in the surrounding communities.
Home to most of Dow’s global businesses, Louisiana Operations has 23 production units manufacturing more than 50 different intermediate and specialty chemical products, such as chlorine and polyethylene, that are used to produce cosmetics, detergents, solvents, pharmaceuticals, adhesives, plastics for a variety of packaging, automotive parts, electronics components, and more.
With an industrial park design, Louisiana Operations has co-located companies within the site’s borders. It offers convenient transportation options, including marine, rail, truck, and pipeline. In addition, Louisiana Operations has tremendous power and steam capacity along with the ability to treat its own waste.
St. Charles Operations is owned by Union Carbide Corporation, a subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company and began operations in 1966. The complex consists of a 2,000-acre petrochemical manufacturing complex in Hahnville, just upriver from New Orleans.
The site has been an OSHA Star Site for over 20 years with an exemplary safety record and an employee injury rate that is one of the lowest in the country.
With an industrial park design, SCO has companies co-located on site. It offers numerous transportation options and a new state-of-the-art truck staging area. Electricity and steam are generated on site, and the site has three water treatment plants.
Products made at SCO end up in thousands of household, business and consumer products that improve everyday life, including plastics, insecticides, films and fabrics, antifreeze, jet fuel, brake fluid, paints and adhesives, textiles, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, personal care products, toothpaste, shampoos, soaps, cleaning agents, detergents, fabric softeners, animal feed supplements and more.
Grand Bayou is a part of Louisiana Operations, located approximately 30 miles from the integrated manufacturing site in Plaquemine. Grand Bayou sits on over 880 acres (about the area of Central Park in New York City) of property in Assumption Parish, and the site is home to some of the most beautiful wildlife in the area.
Site operations began in 1957. At Grand Bayou, Dow mines underground salt with water to produce a saturated brine solution used in the manufacture of chlorine. In addition, hydrocarbon feed stocks are stored in the underground caverns onsite. These feed stocks are utilized by hydrocarbon plants at both Louisiana and St. Charles Operations.
Amerchol, a subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation, operates a 50-acre site in St. Helena Parish, 45 miles northeast of Baton Rouge. The site began as a privately held chemical company and was acquired by Union Carbide Corporation in 1985.
The site is home to two production units, manufacturing cationic polymers for the home and personal care markets. Amerchol products can be found in skin and hair-care products, detergents, makeup, and toiletries.
Amerchol is one of the largest employers in St. Helena Parish. Through educational outreach to the local public schools and technical college, as well as employee and company contributions to United Way, the Greensburg site is an active participant and supporter of the local community.
As part of its global commitment to sustainability, Dow looks to invest in programs and organizations that will have a long-term impact and serve as a starting point for widespread community involvement and growth. The list of organizations, projects, programs, events, and activities that Dow sponsors or is involved with in Louisiana is extensive, but most can be categorized into three areas of focus: economy & workforce development, science, mathematics, engineering and technology related education, and protection of the environment.
Dow’s innovative Community Success process allows strategic Dow communities to provide qualitative and quantitative inputs on their quality-of-life issues and what Dow’s appropriate role is – whether it’s directly addressing community needs or using its leadership position to influence other organizations. Through this process, Dow is able to better align the community’s needs with Dow’s intellectual and business knowledge-how to maximize the long-term benefit to the community.
Case for Change
Louisiana Operations implemented a new Community Advisory Panel (CAP) in the Summer of 2011. LAO operated under its original CAP charter since 1989 and based on extremely positive (>75%) familiarity and favorability ratings, we were given "permission" from our community to lead, stimulate, innovate, and serve as a catalyst for change. Dow uses CAP meetings to meet with high level leaders in the community that have influence and can offer input to how Dow can proactively lead instead of being a "fast follower" and to exceed community expectations instead of just satisfying them. Focus is given to EH&S, Dow business strategy and LAO business/community affairs. The membership of this CAP is key business, community and political leaders from Iberville and West Baton Rouge Parishes.
Membership is by invitation only and is restricted to the following individuals. A member of the executive staff of any CAP member may attend in place of an unavailable CAP member.
Invitation to membership is extended by letter from LAO Site Leader, Eduardo Do Val, to individuals holding the office, title, or role listed below. The letter of invitation provides an overview of the content of this guiding document and also includes a 1-year meeting schedule in order to obtain commitments from the onset.
The LAO CAP meets on a quarterly basis at the Louisiana Operations Site. Meetings are held within the 2-week period after Dow reports quarterly earnings. This allows site leadership to present an accurate snapshot of the Company and LAO's performance, based on metrics tracked by the company on a quarterly basis.
Tentative meeting dates for 2023 are:
Protecting the Community
Safety is always Dow's top priority. We are deeply committed to the security and safety of our sites, products, our employees and our communities.
We also know that our communities give us our license to operate – and we will not compromise on our commitment to working with industry and governments wherever we operate to help address Community Safety & Security.
Committed to Sustainability
Dow is committed to using resources more efficiently, providing value to our customers and stakeholders, delivering solutions for customer needs and enhancing the quality of life of current and future generations.
The Dow Chemical Company has set ambitious 2025 Sustainability Goals. We will lead in developing a societal blueprint that integrates public policy solutions, science and technology, and value chain innovation to facilitate the transition to a sustainable planet and society.
Beginning on Thursday, August 11th communities in South Louisiana prepared for what seemed to be a normal summer storm only to soon find out it was something very different. Rainfall began Thursday and continued for two full days. This unprecedented “no-name storm” left the southern Louisiana communities devastated. Many areas received more than two feet of rain over a 48-hour period.
Although this storm left an immediate impact on the community and the lives of many Dow employees, it gave us the opportunity to see the true spirit of Dow. Many employee’s answered the call for help by rescuing trapped citizens, volunteering at shelters and donation centers, helping with beginning stages of restoration, and a host of other flood recovery activities.
166 Dow employees were directly impacted by the catastrophic flooding. The water may have receded but the devastation remains. Impacted employees are now left to assess the damage and attempt to start completely over. In true Team Dow spirit our employees jumped into action to help their fellow colleagues without question. It has been clear that the support from Team Dow has helped many of these employees in such a trying time.
As restoration continues employees from Dow sites across Louisiana continue to volunteer side by side in assisting our region in recovery efforts. Stage two of recovery has begun and our employees still need more help. Through Employees 1st, an affiliate of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Dow has established a relief fund for Dow colleagues to make charitable contributions that will go directly to Dow employees in Louisiana who have been impacted with unexpected difficulties that require financial assistance. Your donations are greatly appreciated and will make a difference in a co-workers life, especially during a time of need. If you feel called to give, please consider donating to The Dow in Louisiana Employee Assistance Fund.
Fight the Flood Watch Video
What do we mean when we say "flares"?
Flares are safety devices that are used at many petrochemical facilities to effectively burn industrial gases that cannot be returned to the process. Burning converts the gases into two common substances: carbon dioxide and water vapor.
The flare is an essential safety device that is designed:
What do you see when you notice a flare? At Dow, we aim to minimize the impact to the community when we operate our safety devices. If you are near the plant during flaring activity, you may notice:
What's going on when you see a burning flare?
The flares are a permitted air pollution control device used as an outlet to burn excess gas during normal operations, maintenance activities, and partial or complete production unit startup and shutdown. In these scenarios, equipment and piping can become over-pressured. Then, the excess gas is released through pressure relief valves and sent to the flare stack through piping. The burning of the flare ensures the continued safe operations of the plant under all conditions.
Plastics produced at St. Charles Operations and Louisiana Operations are sent to other manufacturers who make them into computer components such as keyboards and monitors, football helmets, adhesives, strengtheners for tires, athletic shoes, pipes, wire and cable. . . and the list goes on and on.
UCARE Polymers™ made at our Amerchol facility in Greensburg, Louisiana, are used as specialty ingredients that go into body washes, gels, anti-bacterial soaps, creams and lotions that reduce irritation, protect the skin’s natural barrier, prevent loss of moisture and restore damaged skin to good health.
On Week’s Island, Dow manufacturse products with infrared wavelengths suitable for use in specialized windows, laser lenses and other optical elements.
At St. Charles Operations, glycol ethers are used in leather and textile dyes, while some of the site’s industrial chemicals are found in paints and coatings. Polyolefins and elastomers made in St. Charles Parish help keep your leftovers fresh when they are used in resins and films for food wraps.
At Louisiana Operations, caustic soda is a key ingredient in products from soaps and bleach to aluminum foil. The site’s methyl cellulose is used in cosmetics, shampoos and detergents. Diapers get a boost from polyethylene made in Plaquemine, and chlorine is found in many health-related products, including cleaners, bleach, water purification and even medicines.
Polyethylene made at Louisiana Operations and at St. Charles Operations can be found in countless products around the house, including milk carton coatings, trash bags, grocery sacks, margarine tubs and film canisters, as well as weather stripping for your home. Dow methyl cellulose is used as a thickening agent in milkshakes and salad dressings.
When you’re on the move
Dow products made in Louisiana enable manufacturers to make cars lighter, stronger, more stylish, and more energy-efficient. Our chemicals are used to make brake fluid, antifreeze, and other fuel additives, as well as specialized plastics and resins used as components in automobiles, trucks and sport utility vehicles.
Our manufacturing facility in Sterlington, Louisiana, produces nitroparaffins - an additive to nitro fuel used by professional drag race cars - and nitro alcohols that enable tire cord adhesion.
Chlorinated polyethylene produced at Louisiana Operations in Plaquemine goes into automotive hoses, tubes and wires – critical components that ensure automobile performance.
The next time you pass a new traffic signal or look at a digital display alarm clock, know that peroxymeric chemicals produced at St. Charles Operations are used in making LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes), those ‘little dots’ that replaced the old bulbs.