Response to Hurricane Katrina
Boil Drinking Water
EPA Region 4 Emergency Response personnel continue assisting state and other federal agencies in Mississippi and Alabama affected by Hurricane Katrina to assess damage and make preparations for cleanup. Additional personnel and resources for damage assessment and debris removal are being deployed as necessary. EPA Assessment Teams are conducting assessments in Pascagoula, Bayou Labtre, Biloxi, Gulfport, Mobile City/Mobile Co. and Baldwin Co. EPA is working with the US Coast Guard and MS and AL environmental agencies to address any chemical or oil spills discovered during these assessments.
Many areas are still too treacherous to navigate on the ground, so aerial environmental assessments are ongoing. Some aerial assessments will be conducted by EPA’s ASPECT aircraft, and others will be conducted by helicopter. The aerial assessments will include aerial pictures and any observed chemical spills will be documented. Aerial assessment will consist of the entire MS coast line.
An EPA Water Division Assistance Team is continuing its assessment of damage to local drinking water systems in MS and providing technical assistance to help restore safe drinking water to those systems. Due to the possibility of extensive damage to their distribution systems, many drinking water facilities will be conducting long-term repairs. Community water systems across AL have been disabled or impaired by loss of electrical power, with many operating on generators or with partial power. Due to impaired or disabled systems, EPA reminds citizens in affected areas to follow “boil water” advisories in place. For more information, please read the “Boil Drinking Water” Alert on the Region 4 hurricane web page at http://epa.gov/region4/Katrina/index.htm
EPA will release information from the environmental assessments as it becomes available. Reporters should contact the EPA Press Office at (404) 562-8327 for interviews and additional information.