Response to Hurricane Katrina
Boil Drinking Water
EPA has conducted more than 1,700 incident responses since deploying emergency response personnel 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.
A removal team continued investigation and removal activities at an abandoned rail car, recovering four 55-gallon drums of liquid, numerous small containers of hydraulic fluid, and one 5-gallon bucket of grease.
Assessment and removal activities were also conducted in coastal areas of Mississippi. Those activities resulted in the recovery of two 500-gallon propane tanks, one 100-gallon drum, seven 55-gallon drums, one 30-gallon container, one 10-gallon container and 131 smaller containers with various contents.
Division B – Harrison County, Miss.
Two teams were deployed perform removal oversight, assessment and collection point activities, while another team continued closing out grids in the Biloxi area.
Removal actions were completed at the pool chemical facility in Gulfport and an estimated 964 items were removed.
Division C – Jackson County, Miss., and Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Ala.
An assessment and removal team continued assessment and recovery operations in the Bayou La Batre area. The team identified a 1,000-gallon oil tank and staged equipment for recovery operations.
In the Moss Point area, removal operations included three cylinders, one 55-gallon drum, seven empty 55-gallon drums, one 100-pound propane tank and one empty gas can. All items recovered were staged at the division collection point.
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.
The EPA Science and Ecosystem Support Division (SESD) has two air monitoring operations planned or underway. They are currently monitoring three ambient monitoring stations for MDEQ. These stations are monitoring for PM 2.5 and 10, asbestos, metal, volatiles, carbonyls, and hexavalent chromium.
The second operation is monitoring air quality near debris burn sites. These stations will monitor for PM 2.5 and 10, as well as asbestos.