Response to Hurricane Katrina
Boil Drinking Water
EPA has conducted more than 2,100 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.
Assessment and removal activities were completed in the Waveland area. The team completed activities after picking up four 5-gallon propane tanks, two 1-gallon paint cans, one battery, and a 1-gallon propane tank. In addition, the team identified a large AST in the woods off of the highway. Contractors assessed the tank and are formulating a removal plan.
A second team conducted assessment and removal activities in the Edwardsville and Bay St. Louis area. The team collected all identified items in these areas and additional items not previously identified. These items included five 55-gallon drums, a 10-gallon propane tank, one 20-gallon poly container, one gallon of bleach, 14 paint cans, five 5-gallon bucket, two 2-gallon gas cans, and 20 bags of insecticide.
Another team continued assessment activities in the Port Bienville Industrial Park and identified additional items to be removed by contractors.
Division B – Harrison County, Miss.
All teams continue assessment and recovery operations. They are continuing to stage items at the Division Collection Point.
Division C – Jackson County, Miss., and Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Ala.
A team conducted boat operation off the west shore of Bayou La Batre. They have collected 15 55-gallon drums of oil, 13 5-gallon buckets of oil, one propane tank and several small containers. The ground crew assessed a residential area in Bayou La Batre collecting three oxygen cylinders, one 55-gallon drum labeled “Flammable Liquids,” 22 5-gallon buckets of various materials.
Another team continued ground assessment and recovery operations in the Moss Point, Pascagoula, and Gautier areas collecting six 55-gallon drums, one poly tote and two 10-gallon buckets.
Recovery operations in Ocean Spring and D’Iberville led to the recovery of three 5-gallon tanks of Freon, seven propane tanks, 10 55-gallon drums, 25 5-gallon buckets, 30 1-gallon or smaller containers and two batteries.
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. Monitoring for toxics is scheduled to begin this week.