Response to Hurricane Katrina
Boil Drinking Water
EPA has conducted more than 2,200 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 in the Waveland and Bay St. Louis area resulted in the removal of multiple propane tanks, a 300-gallon tote that was partially full of oil. The team also located a 1,500-gallon AST on a golf course. A second team removed nine 55-gallon drums, 12 5-gallon buckets of various contents, a 10-gallon propane tank, two 5-gallon propane tanks and a 50-gallon propane tank.
A third team traveled to northern Kiln to remove a 55-gallon drum that was identified earlier this week. They also conducted activities in Diamondhead removing a 55-gallon drum, one 100-gallon tank, three 5-gallon propane tanks, one 120-gallon propane tank, and a 1,000-gallon poly tank that was partially full.
A team in Hancock County identified a 5-gallon propane tank in the Port Bienville Industrial Park area and one 200-gallon propane tank in the Waveland area.
Division B – Harrison County, Miss.
Two teams observed debris removal operations in Biloxi, D’Iberville, Gulfport, Long Beach and Pass Christian. Non-hazardous debris collection contractors continue to separate waste at the collection points.
Division C – Jackson County, Miss., and Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Ala.
A team in the Bayou La Batre area recovered four 55-gallon drums, a 40-gallon poly drum, 19 5-gallon plastic containers, a 5-gaollon metal containers, one small LP cylinder, five empty gas canisters and 21 various small containers. Another team continued assessment and recovery operations in residential areas of Bayou La Batre. They recovered eight oxygen and hydrogen cylinders, a 55-gallon drum of oil, 26 five gallon containers of oily liquid, one 500-gallon propane tank, and 43 miscellaneous small containers.
A team conducted boat operations on the Pascagoula River to assess and recover any remaining items. They recovered four 55-gallon drums, an 85-gallon drum and one 40-gallon drum.
Recovery operations in Ocean Spring and D’Iberville led to the recovery of a 30’ x 4’ tank and a large cylinder.
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.