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 360 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. Of those, 205 were closed due to no further action required or a removal action occurred. 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 231 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
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 850 drums, 184 tanks, 437 cylinders, 17 fuel cells, 1,899 other containers and 718,216 gallons of fuel removed.
Division A-Hancock County, MS
Assessments were performed in the Bay St. Louis area locating and marking tanks and drums. An assessment team also responded to citizen calls concerning contaminated ditches in Edwardsville. The ditch contamination was determined to be a sewage issue.
Removal operations continued in the Bay St. Louis area. The teams have moved numerous containers to the division collection point including propane tanks, oxygen and other gas cylinders, paint cans, and herbicide containers.
Division B-Harrison County, MS
Assessment teams continued assessment and removal operations west from Long Beach Road. Seven 55-gallon drums, four compressed gas cylinders, one 30-gallon drum, 21 5-gallon buckets, two batteries, and 45 small containers were recovered. Assessment and removal operations on the east side of Biloxi continue.
Assessments were conducted at a pool chemical facility, and a partially buried drum, and the recovery of numerous drums, compressed gas cylinders, and various small containers were recovered. A recovery team pumped approximately 1,400 gallons of fuel/water from a 20,000-gallon tank located on Brody Road in D’Iberville. In addition, this team transported one 1,000-gallon tank and two propane tanks from the D’Iberville area to the Collection Area for hazardous materials. The team also identified another 20,000-gallon tank located on Heidelman Road in Biloxi, which contains approximately 200 gallons of fuel/water.
Operations continued at Munroe Petroleum terminal. Support began for operations with the local Port Authority. Vacuum trucks will be used to transfer fuels located in tanks at the Port.
Assessments and removal operations continue in the D’Iberville area. One 20,000-gallon tank was removed.
Division C-Jackson County, MS and Baldwin and Mobile Counties, AL
Assessments and oversight of removal operations were conducted in Baldwin County, AL along the Mobile Bay from Highway 98 north to I-10. Approximately 12 five-gallon containers, 44 one-gallon containers, four propane canisters, and one battery were recovered and staged at Shell Belt Road Collection Point.
The US Coast Guard performed mitigation actions in Bayou Le Batre, AL. Diving operations were conducted to secure fuel tanks on sunken vessels. Absorbent pads and booms around leaking vessels were deployed, recovering a small amount of product.
Assessment of a debris pile was performed on Hwy 57 searching for propane canisters.
Assessment and oversight of removal operations was performed in the Pascagoula and Ocean Springs, MS areas.
Assessment and removal operations were completed at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. A chemist was deployed to the Gulf Coast Laboratory to assist EPA and other contractors with the lab-packing of small laboratory containers.
Assessment operations continue in the Gautier, MS area. Teams in the Mobile Bay area are conducting searches for above-ground storage tanks identified during overflights. Monitoring the operations around the sunken tug in Chickasaw Bogue River continue.
Facility inspection teams have completed assessment operations in the Gulf Coast area. The inspection teams plan to compile the information into a final report.
A vessels group continued conducting assessment of vessels in the area. Assessed vessels have been marked with stickers containing information and US Coast Guard contact numbers. Operations will continue along the Alabama and Mississippi Coast.
Water Systems Update
The EPA Mobile Water Laboratory has been relocated to Gulfport, MS to better assist MS Department of Health with water sampling data.
A total of one drinking water system in AL and 231 in MS remain on boil water notices. 71 systems in AL and 1,251 systems in MS are operational.
Wastewater systems that continue to be affected in Alabama counties include: Baldwin and Mobile. Wastewater systems that continue to be affected in Mississippi counties include: Attala, Copiah, Covington, Forest, George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lamar, Lauderdale, Marion, Newton, Pearl River, Perry, Simpson, Smith, Stone, Walthall, and Wayne.