Response to Hurricane Katrina
Boil Drinking Water
EPA resumed operations in Mississippi and Alabama yesterday, after scaling back over the weekend due to Hurricane Rita.More than 1,200 incident responses have been conducted by EPA and the U.S. 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 the affected areas.
Assessment and Removal Team Activity
EPA is operating under three divisions that were formed to address Hancock (Division A), Harrison (Division B), and Jackson, MS and Mobile and Baldwin, AL (Division C) counties, which are the most affected areas along the coast. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is serving 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 during Hurricane Katrina.
Division A – Hancock County, Miss.
EPA attended a meeting regarding debris removal focused on providing state, county and city personnel with a starting point to decide how they want to conduct debris removal, and provided guidance on hazmat related issues.
In addition, teams continued to stage all drums and small tanks on pallets. They are continuing to receive drums, cylinders, small containers and tanks brought to the collection point. Division A has collected 220 drums, 116 tanks, 120 cylinders and 491 other containers.
Division B – Harrison County, Miss.
A removal team consisting of EPA, contractors, USCG and ERRS members entered a laboratory in Biloxi and conducted air monitoring. The testing revealed no elevated reading, completing activities at the lab.
Another team conducted removal activities at a pool chemical facility in Gulfport. The team continued clearing debris and accessing and staging containers to facilitate removal. Approximately 600 containers varying in size were recovered.
EPA continued staging all drums and small tanks on pallets for removal at the collection point. Division B has collected 366 drums, 510 tanks, 445 cylinders, 3,190 other containers and 11 fuel cells.
Division C – Jackson County, Miss., and Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Ala.
Assessment and removal teams continued identifying and recovering hazmat debris in Southern Jackson and the Bayou La Batre area.
Collection points in Division C have collected 777 drums, 119 tanks, 477 cylinders, six fuel cells, and more than 2,600 other containers.
An EPA mobile drinking water laboratory, stationed in Gulfport to assist the MS Department of Health with analysis of drinking water samples, was restarted. The lab has processed more than 258 drinking water samples and continues to analyze new samples each day.
Wastewater systems that continue to be inoperable include Dauphin Island, AL, and Eagle Point, Delisle and Oaks Development in MS. Affected wastewater systems in Long Beach/Pass Christian, Pascagoula, East Biloxi, Waveland and Diamondhead, MS are operating with limited capacity.
EPA personnel and equipment have been re-deployed to assist MDEQ with air monitoring. Air monitoring sites have been set-up at Stennis Air Base, Gulfport and Pascagoula, MS, and particulate matter at the 2.5 and 10 micrometers in diameter levels will be monitored, along with metals analysis and asbestos. Total samples collected at this time are three PM 2.5 samples, three PM 10 samples, and three asbestos samples. Sampling data will be compiled and the data will be released when it becomes available..