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 383 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, 273 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 223 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 1,303 drums, 477 tanks, 870 cylinders, 17 fuel cells, 4,837 other containers, 718,216 gallons of fuel removed, and 49,000 gallons of oil/water recovered.
Division A-Hancock County , MS
The removal team performed assessments to check for fuel leaks on shrimp boats in Port Bienville. All fuel and hazardous materials will be removed before mitigation.
An assessment and a second removal team continued operations in assigned areas. Two 55-gal drums and two large propane tanks were removed.
Division B-Harrison County , MS
Division B stood down operations to allow for equipment maintenance and database updates.
Division C-Jackson County , MS and Baldwin and Mobile Counties, AL
An assessment team verified that initial assessment and removal action was completed and provided oversight of removal operations in the Pascagoula, Mississippi area
The team assessed areas in the Ocean Springs, Mississippi area. Numerous items were found and marked for later recovery.
The teams assessed areas in the Gautier, Mississippi area. The team located a 330-gal oil tank.
The Alabama Task Force assessed and cleared several grids on the Mobile Bay area. Several containers were located and the location of boats was marked. The Deer River and Oil pile Island also were assessed.
The vessels group completed the assessment of vessels in the Bayou La Batre area. A total of 296 vessels have been assesses. Recovery operations have been completed on the “Tristar,” a vessel which had blocked the channel into Bayou La Batre.
Water Systems Update
A total of one drinking water system in AL and 160 in MS remain on boil water notices. 71 systems in AL and 1,308 systems in MS are operational.
Wastewater systems that continue to be affected (as defined by ADEM) in Alabama counties include: 12 plants in Baldwin and 12 plants in Mobile. Wastewater systems that continue to be affected (as defined by MDEQ) 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.