Response to Hurricane Katrina
Boil Drinking Water
EPA has conducted more than 2,800 incident responses since deploying emergency response personnel following the destruction left by Hurricane Katrina along the Mississippi and Alabama 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 are continuing to conduct operations in the Port Bienville, Pearlington and Edwardsville areas. The team met with a local facility regarding their waste pit. EPA is waiting for documentation of the items removed before approving backfilling the pit.
Division B – Harrison County, Miss.
Hazmat debris was removed in the D’Iberville area as well as areas between Gulfport and Pass Christian.
Division C – Jackson County, Miss., and Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Ala.
Teams continued recovery operations in Baldwin County and Jackson County. EPA also continues to monitor hazmat segregation operations at various debris collection points in Jackson County.
An EPA mobile drinking water laboratory, stationed in Gulfport has processed more than 928 drinking water samples and continues to analyze new samples each day.
The Analytical Support Branch (ASB) has completed the chemical analyses on the Gulf Coast Water Quality Survey samples. Recently completed analyses are being submitted to Quality Assurance for review.
The Air Monitoring Support Team has collected 41 PM 2.5, 41 PM 10 and 28 asbestos samples. All Air data results will be coordinated with EPA’s Emergency Response Team . They also are operating three sites near large burn areas at the Harrison County Unified Command Center, Biloxi Fire Station and the Long Beach Fire Station (also in Harrison County).
Lift Station Operations
EPA contractors have completed 20 of 27 task orders, focusing primarily on temporary repairs to collection systems in the three-county region of the Mississippi Gulf Coast (Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson Counties). Repairs to pump stations have included the installation of temporary pumps and piping to transfer wastewater around the lift stations until permanent repairs can be made. The temporary installations require maintenance to pumps, motors, and generators until the permanent repairs are in place.