Response to Hurricane Katrina
Boil Drinking Water
EPA has been on scene at the Hurricane Katrina response in Mississippi and Alabama for a week now, working with federal, state and local agencies on a coordinated cleanup effort. The hurricane caused major damage to the MS and AL coastlines and will require extensive cleanup and long-term repairs for citizens and businesses. EPA will remain on the scene as long as our assistance is required. The following is an update on the daily activities conducted by EPA and its contractors as they respond to oil and chemical spills and help identify displaced containers of hazardous or potentially hazardous debris.
Assessment teams are reporting each response conducted in the field, and based on current reports, EPA and the US Coast Guard have responded to approximately 153 incidents in MS and AL.
Assessment and recovery of hazardous materials is ongoing along the AL coast. Approximately 99 drums, 13 buckets, 131 paint containers, one bleach container, one gasoline tank, eight gas cans, 10 fuel cells, three industrial batteries, 79 containers, 98 propane cylinders and one oxygen cylinder, all of various size and volume, of hazardous or potentially hazardous waste have been recovered along the AL coast on September 6, 2005.
EPA is also providing oversight of removal operations being conducted on vessels that have been grounded near the I-10 Bridge. Removal of 16,500 gallons of petroleum and water from the Miss Peggie and the Miss Debra has been conducted. The removal of petroleum products from the Maggie D and a Naval Reserve Tug is complete.
Three boats in the Bayou Labatre area were drained of petroleum products by a dive team, which has also been working to secure leaks on sunken vessels. Eight vessels have been addressed.
Eastern MS Division ( Gulfport to AL State Line)
On September 6, 2005 in Pascagoula, two drums, five buckets, 23 cylinders and 60 small containers of hazardous material were recovered. In the southwest area of D’Iberville on Tuesday, five drums, one cylinder, nine buckets, and one tote of hazardous material were recovered. In the Moss Point area on Tuesday, 45 drums, one cylinder and seven containers of hazardous material were recovered and a foot of waste oil was pumped out of an above-ground storage tank.
Western MS Division (LA State Line to Gulfport)
An assessment team investigated a National Response Center report of a chemical release at a pool supply company on Highway 90. The building will be addressed by a removal team. In the Diamondhead area subdivisions, a carbon monoxide and helium cylinder were recovered, along with a gas tank and a 55-gallon drum. Another assessment team in the Pass Christian area located an oil discharge of approximately 30 gallons and found various drums, chlorine cylinders and propane tanks.
In downtown Gulfport, removal teams recovered three above-ground storage tanks, three small air compressed air canisters, three propane tanks, five motor oil containers, 25 small containers and 14 oil containers. Recovery operations on Highway 90 at the port of Gulfport west to 43 Street found eight buckets, 35 metal drums, one above-ground storage tank, seven cylinders and one plastic container of hazardous material.
Drinking Water Assessment
The five remaining drinking water systems with boil water notices may have those notices lifted today, pending bacteriological test results of those systems.
The MS Band of the Choctaw Indians reported that tribal communities of Crystal Ridge, Bogue Chitto, Pearl River, Tucker, Red Water, and Standing Pine are operational. The Bogue Homa community in Jones County requires assistance.
EPA is working with the MS Department of Public Health to establish areas in the coastal counties for placement of mobile laboratories to help assess drinking water systems.