Response to Hurricane Katrina
Boil Drinking Water
10/01/05 - 10/02/05
EPA has conducted more than 2,000 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 team conducted assessment and removal activities in the Waveland area. The team also responded to a call from a local business owner concerned with fuel tanks at two convenience stores located in Bay St. Louis. The team traveled to the stores and assessed the condition of the tanks and conducted air monitoring in the area around the tanks. They did find any evidence of a release from the tanks.
Activities in Waveland and Bay St. Louis resulted in the removal of numerous 5-gallon containers, 66 1-gallon paint containers, 17 batteries, 11 spray cans, 16 1-quart paint containers, five bags of pesticide mix, three gas cans, one pesticide sprayer, one container of battery acid, and two 5-gallon propane tanks. Additionally, the team picked up multiple household items.
Another team conducted assessment and removal activities in the Port Bienville Industrial Park. They collected two soil samples from a ranch adjacent to the park which were sent to be analyzed for VOCs, SVOCs, metals and pesticides. The team also removed seven 55-gallon drums and 10 5-gallon containers. They identified four 55-gallon drums, four 1,000-gallon tanks, and one large pool tank of diesel that needed to be removed.
Division B – Harrison County, Miss.
Two teams were deployed in Division B to perform removal oversight, assessment, and Collection Point activities.
Team 1 continues soil removal activities at a residence in D’Iberville. Three full roll-off boxes have been removed, and three more boxes are staged for removal. Soil was also removed from the neighboring property along the shared property line. Back-filling activities were completed on both properties, and work on this site will be complete when the roll-off bins are removed.
Team 2 was tasked with assessing and removing items in Pass Christian. Items removed from the area include 10 propane tanks, two Above Ground Storage Tanks, an over pack drum, one 2-gallon mini-drum of sodium hydroxide and one bucket of unknown material.
An assessment by the Vessel Branch identified two stranded barges along the Gulfport coast.
Division C – Jackson County, Miss., and Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Ala.
A team continued assessment and recovery operations in the Bayou La Batre area. They have recovered several small containers, several 5-gallon buckets, several paint cans, various 55-gallon drums, and one 100-gallon tank of oil. A ground crew collected a 150-gallon tank and numerous 55-gallon containers.
A water assessment of the Ocean Springs, Biloxi, and Davis Bayou waterways resulted in the identification of two new vessels, one 1,000-gallon AST, and one 2,000-gallon AST. Both ASTs were marked for later recovery.
Recovery operations in the Gulf Island Seashore National Park led to the collection of 15 55-gallon drums and 30 small containers. In addition, a team conducted assessment and recovery operations by boat in the Dauphin Island area and recovered one 55-gallon drum, one 30-gallon drum, one 500-gallon container and a 150-gallon propane tank.
In Coden, Ala., a team performed assessment and recovery operations collection 20 55-gallon drums. Also collected were 10 5-gallon gas cans, five 20-gallon propane tanks, three 150-gallon propane cylinders, two diesel tanks and numerous small 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 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.