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 conducted removal and assessment operations at a school in Pearlington and discovered a strong odor caused by rotting food. Contractors will assume the disposal operation.
In the Edwardsville area, a removal team conducted debris recovery operations, removing eight 250-gallon propane tanks, two 55-gallon drums, one 500-gallon tank, five cylinders and two small containers.
Division B – Harrison County, Miss.
Soil contaminated by a fuel spill was removed at a home is D’Iberville. The soil was removed to a depth of one foot and the team will continue to cleanup the site.
Removal operations were conducted in Pass Christian to recover eight 55-gallon drums, two fuel tanks, six propane tanks and one liquid oxygen tank.
Division C – Jackson County, Miss., and Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Ala.
Recovery teams continue to assess and remove items in the West Gautier and Ocean Springs areas. Four ASTs and one 200-gallon propane tank were recovered, along with a 20-gallon saddle fuel tank that leaked onto a debris pile, which was also removed.
Removal operations were also conducted at a paint truck in Bayou La Batre resulting in the recovery of 125 one-gallon paint cans, 36 five-gallon containers of flammable liquids and 12 small aerosol containers.
A vessel team removed 3,000 gallons of fuel, eight batteries and 300 gallons of petroleum contact water from the bilge in Bayou La Batre. One burnt vessel was removed and pumping operations began on two boats. Another vessel team removed 8,000 gallons of fuel from five vessels.
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 351 drinking water samples and continues to analyze new samples each day.
The EPA Science and Ecosystem Support Division (SESD) is continuing ambient air monitoring operations. 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.