Response to Hurricane Katrina
Boil Drinking Water
EPA has reorganized its response structure in MS based on the most affected counties. Three divisions were formed to address Hancock (Division A), Harrison (Division B), and Jackson, Mobile, AL and Baldwin, AL (Division C) counties. The US Coast Guard will serve as liaison between EPA and the three counties. More than 211 incident responses have been conducted by EPA and the US Coast Guard since the beginning of EPA’s involvement following the destruction left by Hurricane Katrina along the MS and AL coastline. A total of 197 personnel, which includes personnel from EPA, US Coast Guard, EPA and US Coast Guard contractors, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, are assisting with environmental and hazardous waste issues in response to Hurricane Katrina in MS and AL.
Assessment and Removal Team Activity
Division A-Hancock County, MS
A response team conducted initial entry of the Aqua Pool Chemical Facility in Waveland. Chemical containers were righted and secured. Significant chlorine levels were detected and a removal will be conducted. Assessment teams completed investigation of the Pearlington area, discovering multiple containers to be recovered throughout the area. Shoreline assessment along the Pearl River was also conducted.
Division B-Harrison County, MS
EPA conducted oversight of a removal contractor at the Munroe facility. Water was pumped from a secondary containment area and contaminated mud was stockpiled onsite. The responsible party has begun making plans to cleanup the remainder of the property. Oversight was also conducted for a team that continues to right and stage drums from outlying areas of the community where flammable drums from Ershig’s Fiberglass were moved by the storm.
Division C-Jackson County, MS and Baldwin and Mobile Counties, AL
Baldwin County, AL
EPA performed oversight of a pumping operation at a local restaurant. 30 gallons of product from sump pumps entrenched on the property were removed. A removal action will be performed on property adjacent to the local restaurant due to percolation of diesel from the ground at the property.
VT Halter Marina in Moss Point, MS has marina staff removing a tug boat from the dock area. A US Coast Guard contractor is providing assistance to a dive crew examining the bottom of the vessel and the attach rigging.
Bayou La Batre, AL
A removal of two 2,000 gallon fuel tanks from a burned vessel was conducted, along with a recovery of four 5,000 gallon tanks. All tanks were drained of their contents and collected for removal by hazardous materials teams. Oversight was conducted at a recovery of 55 gallon drums from an area in Bayou Cassote, MS. Drum removal will continue in the area since there is a large amount of debris located there. Land assessments were performed in the Orange Grove and Bayou Cassote areas. Boat operation assessments were completed in the Bounds Lake area, which lead to the discovery of a light sheen on the water.
Water Systems Update
A total of two drinking water systems in AL and 418 in MS remain on boil water notices. 71 systems in AL and 1,006 systems in MS are operational. Two more EPA Drinking Water Section personnel were deployed to MS to assist the MS Department of Public Health with drinking water issues in the state.
Wastewater systems continue to be affected, with systems in Chickasaw and Dauphin Island, AL, and systems in Escatawpa, Eagle Point, Delisle, Oaks, Waveland, Diamondhead, Newton, Bay Springs and McLain, MS still inoperable.