Response to Hurricane Katrina
Boil Drinking Water
EPA has reorganized its response structure in MS and AL 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 divisions. Coastal MS experienced storm surge flooding of 18 to 22 feet above normal tide levels and significant rainfall amounts. In response to this event, more than 282 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. An incident response is defined as an investigation of a National Response Center Report, contacting facilities, and reporting hazmat debris while conducting land or water assessment in affected areas.
A total of 211 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.
EPA, ADEM and USCG overflights of the Mobile Bay area and the MS coast have helped to log locations of barges, boats, tanks and debris fields for further water assessment.
Total debris recovered as part of EPA operations in MS and AL includes 433 drums, 50 tanks, 245 cylinders, 17 fuel cells, 813 other containers and 2,200 gallons of fuel removed.
Assessment teams have completed their assessment in Waveland. Teams continued assessment, removal, and aerial reconnaissance operations in Bay St. Louis. Containers moved to the division collection point include: propane tanks, oxygen and other gas cylinders, paint cans, and herbicide containers. Teams also are performing assessments in the Gautier area.
Assessment operations were performed in the Gulfport area. Removal operations were performed in the Biloxi area and included: one 1,000-gallon above ground storage tank and seven 55-gallon drums. Assessments of two 12,000 gallon above ground storage tanks was performed.
Removal operations were conducted at the Monroe Petroleum terminal of approximately 2,000,000 gallons of fuel. Assessment operations also were performed in the D’Iberville area and the Back Bay of Biloxi.
Assessments were performed in the Mobile bay area and conducted follow-up assessments in the Bayou La Batre area. Teams also provided oversight for boom being deployment around vessels in the Bayou.
Assessment of dust/particulate matter at site along Highway 57 was performed and air monitoring was scheduled for the next day. Recovery operations continue in Pascagoula and Ocean Springs. Oversight for removal operations was performed and investigations occurred in the Escatawpa area.
Assessment continued at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory area for hazardous materials. The team continued the inventory of chemicals stored in the laboratories. Wastewater was pumped from laboratory areas to gain access to the labs. The area around the laboratory also was surveyed for hazardous materials. Packing of laboratory materials is 50% complete.
Three facility inspection teams continue site visits to USCG regulated facilities. These waterfront facilities contain oil or chemical products. The inspection teams plan to complete inspections by September 16, 2005.
A vessels group was established to coordinate and conduct assessment and removal operations on the vessels in the area. 59 of 190 vessels have been assessed as of this reporting period.
Items collected at the Division C Collection point include: 124 55-gallon drums, 13 95-gallon overpacks, 195 small containers (5-gallon or less), 105 various sized cylinders, 117 Empty 55-gallon drums, 38 Empty small containers, 22 Tanks, and 6 Totes (350 gallons). Hazardous waste categorization will soon begin at the site.
Four collection points were established as long term staging areas. These points are located in Harrison Co., Jackson Co., and Hancock Co., MS. In Alabama, a collection point was established at Bayou LeBatre. Currently, divisions are conducting a count in these collection points.
A total of one drinking water system in AL and 303 in MS remain on boil water notices. 71 systems in AL and 1,187 systems in MS are operational.
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.