A Baton Rouge resident was shocked to find pools of blood leaking onto the road behind a local funeral home.
On Sept. 28, the unnamed resident found blood leaking from a valve and spilling onto the road behind Greenoaks Funeral Home, according to WBRZ. Officials have confirmed that the liquid was indeed blood mixed with formaldehyde.
The substance is said to have leaked from a tank behind the building that holds excess embalming fluid.
"We sent out both our sewer inspector and our environmental specialists to take a look," said Adam Smith, who works with the City of Baton Rouge Department of Environmental Services. "We determined that it wasn't a sewer issue and that it was an issue on private property."
Since the leak occurred on private property, Smith said that there was no danger of the liquid seeping into the city sewer system.
According to The Advocate, a valve blockage caused the leak, which lasted for 20 minutes before it was cleaned up.
A Greenoaks spokesperson has since apologized "for any inconvenience this may have caused visitors to our cemetery."
"As soon as we noticed it, we were able to immediately stop the leak, clean and disinfect the area."
Jessica Koth, who works as the public relations manager for the National Funeral Director's Association, said that she had never heard of such an occurrence during her 11 years at the agency, calling it "very unusual."
But she said that the leaked substance wouldn't have posed any danger to the public. The blood was mixed with formaldehyde, which works to "inactivate those germs and pathogens."
The funeral home, which is under new management, did not have a permit with the Department of Environmental Services, according to WBRZ. Smith did not indicate whether Greenoaks will face any repercussions, but did say that he will ensure that they have the proper permits as soon as possible.
"We've been really concentrating on restaurants lately, so we haven't been looking into the funeral homes," he said. "But we're going to go ahead and get them signed up for a permit."
William Daniel, the director of city-parish environmental services, confirmed that the department has been making restaurants a top priority to ensure that sewage systems aren't being clogged up with grease. But, as he told The Advocate, he will now be working to ensure that all funeral homes are equipped with the proper permits.
"We’ve moved them to the top [of the priority list], and we’re going to be reaching out to all of them to get a permit," he said.