Response to Hurricane Katrina
Boil Drinking Water
EPA has conducted more than 1,800 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. They also identified a number of propane tanks and a 55-gallon drum to be recovered. Contractors will assume the disposal operation.
Five debris collection sites were visited to determine if hazardous materials were present. Only one or two small items were identified and no major hazardous materials exist at any of the sites.
Division B – Harrison County, Miss.
A team recovered several 55-gallon drums, propane tanks and a 10,000-gallon tank in the Pass Christian area and transferred them to the Division Collection Point.
Soil removal operations were conducted at a private residence in D’Iberville to remove soil contaminated by petroleum product. Four roll-off boxes were removed to the Division Collection Point.
Division C – Jackson County, Miss., and Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Ala.
In West Gautier and Ocean Springs, a team continued to clear the area and have removed and transferred 10 propane tanks, two 100-pound propane cylinders, seven empty 55-gallon drums, and seven five-gallon buckets.
Several grids were cleared by another team as 30 containers of household cleaners, three 55-gallon drums, four empty 55-gallon drums, and two propane tanks were removed and transferred to the Division Collection Point. The team also deployed 100 feet of boom in a ditch filled with oily water. The site was assessed and no visible leaks were found.
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 425 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.