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, MS and Mobile and Baldwin, AL (Division C) counties. The US Coast Guard will serve as liaison between EPA and the three counties. More than 244 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 199 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 teams began assessing areas of Waveland and Diamondhead, MS. Waveland assessment teams discovered one leaking 250 pound residential propane cylinder, one small chlorine locker, one chlorine cylinder and various other household hazardous waste. The leaking propane tank was secured, and the chlorine containers were marked for removal.
Assessment teams in Division A have discovered a total of 30 above-ground storage tanks, 14 compressed gas cylinders, 47 drums, one gas can, multiple rail cars, and more than 100 various small containers.
Assessment teams continue to respond to reports of hazardous waste or material found east of Highway 49. A removal contractor will begin categorizing the hazardous materials that have been collected in Division B. The collected hazardous materials will be tested for their content, then grouped according to the material and packaged for removal to an appropriate disposal facility. EPA also met MS Power to discuss a plan and give the locations for addressing damaged transformers.
Assessment continued at the University of Southern MS Gulf Coast Research Laboratory area for hazardous materials. The assessment team conducted a radiation survey, lower explosive level monitoring and occupational exposure limits surveys. One of the removal contractors removed a 100-gallon fuel tank from the area.
Oversight was conducted of a removal contractor pumping diesel from a 4,000-gallon tank at Martin Street Marina. Approximately 1,200 gallons of diesel were removed from the marina tank. Another removal contractor completed removal of 6,300 gallons of product from two shrimp boats.
Teams continued assessment of land and water in the area. 32 vessels were originally marked as environmental threats of release, but all vessels were assessed and confirmed not to be leaking any hazardous materials. All booms placed during boat recovery operations were collected during the September 10, 2005 operational period. The total boom recovery of oil was approximately 1,450 feet. The west side of the Bayou has been completed.
A total of one drinking water system in AL and 359 in MS remain on boil water notices. 71 systems in AL and 1,057 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.