Flood-Damaged Hurricane Katrina Automobiles Turn into Compacts

November 28, 2005

After Hurricane Katrina, flood-damaged cars in Louisiana’s hardest-hit parishes were left sitting in water contaminated with e coli and fuel for up to four weeks before insurance companies could get in and start pulling them out.

Environmental officials advised that these cars could be decontaminated by washing with soap and water or a combination of water and bleach. Once decontaminated, these vehicles could be sold to consumers anywhere in the country.

The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies made the decision to scrap the more than 5,000 vehicles it insured that were declared total losses as a result of flood waters in St. Bernard parish and parts of Orleans parish.

“The reasons are simple,” said Juan Andrade, claims general manager for the region. “We don’t want our people working around those cars and we don’t want them back on the road.”

The cars are destroyed using a three-step process at the Bayou Steel Corporation’s Mississippi River Recycling plant. First, they’re crushed flat. Then, they’re fed through a shredding machine. Finally, the parts are separated and the recyclable metals are melted into re-usable product.

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