Response to Hurricane Katrina
Boil Drinking Water
EPA has conducted more than 2,300 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.
Teams continue to conduct removal activities in Waveland, Diamondhead and waterways in Southern Hancock County. Numerous 1-gallon paint cans, drums and small propane tanks were recovered during operations.
Division B – Harrison County, Miss.
Several teams were deployed to various locations to observe debris removal operations. The teams observed and assisted with the removal and placement of hazardous materials.
Division C – Jackson County, Miss., and Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Ala.
Two removal teams coordinated activities along debris lines in Bayou La Batre. During these operation, the team recovered five 5-gallon plastic containers, a small LP cylinder, 28 various small containers of household hazardous waste, eight 55-gallon drums of oil and acetone, a 500-pound propane tank, one 250-pound propane tank, three 50-75- pound oxygen cylinder, 10 batters, six fire extinguishers, 15 5-gallon buckets of oil, 62 miscellaneous containers, two gas cans and three small propane tanks.
Another team conducted boat operations along the Pascagoula River with the assistance of contractors. In addition to recovering previously identified items, they found an 8’ x 4’ fuel cell. After removing 50 gallons of fuel, the cell was transported to the Division Collection Point. They were also able to recover 17 55-gallon drums, two 40-gallon poly drums, four propane tanks, a 150-pound propane cylinder and a Freon tank.
Along the Mobile Bay in Mobile, a team recovered three 55-gallon drums during assessment and recovery operations.
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.
A Water System Evaluation Team is scheduled to deploy today to assist FEMA in public assistance documentation work at drinking water and waste water facilities in Mississippi.
The Air Monitoring Support Team has collected 21 PM 2.5, 21 PM 10 and 21 asbestos samples. All Air data results will be coordinated with EPA’s Emergency Response Team. They have assessed several debris burn sites and obtained permission to sample at five of the larger sites that are near populated areas.