Response to Hurricane Katrina
Boil Drinking Water
EPA has conducted more than 3,200 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, Mississippi Mobile and Baldwin, Alabama (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.
All four teams continued to conduct assessment and removal activities in the Pearlington, Waveland, and Bay St. Louis areas. Approximately 500 items of various sizes were collected.
Division B – Harrison County, Miss.
Division Bravo deployed three teams to observe debris removal operations and remove previously or currently located items. Areas surveyed included Biloxi, Long Beach, and Gulfport (Harrison County, Miss.)
Teams 1 and 2 conducted assessment of debris removal operations in Harrison County. As appropriate, contact information was obtained from the onsite representative of the city or the debris removal contractor lead.
Division C – Jackson County, Miss., and Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Ala.
Team 1 continued to recover hazardous household waste in Mobile County, which was transported to collection point in Bayou La Batre. An EPA team also continued to monitor the segregation of hazardous materials at various debris segregation and reduction sites and landfills in Jackson County.
The Air Monitoring Support Team is collecting PM 2.5, PM 10, with metals analysis and asbestos at three permanent sampling sites in Pascagoula, Gulfport and Stennis Air Bases. Additionally, the VOC, SVOC, carbonyl, and hexavalent chromium samplers are being collected at these sites.
The team is also operating three sites near larger burn area. They are sampling for PM 2.5, PM 10 and asbestos. The team has collected a total of 66 PM 2.5, 66 PM 10 and 37 asbestos sample, along with 17 VOC, 17 SVOC, 17 carbonyls and 17 hexavalent chromium samples. All Air data results will be coordinated with EPA’s Emergency Response Team.
NPL Sampling Team
Field sampling for the NPL study is completed and the data was sent to the laboratory for analysis. Once the data is received, it will undergo Quality Assurance Review and the results will be reported to project leaders.
An EPA mobile drinking water laboratory, stationed in Gulfport has processed more than 1,188 drinking water samples and continues to analyze new samples each day.
The Waste Water Treatment situation continues to improve. In Mississippi, the Delisle Waste Water Treatment Plant is now operating normally and East Biloxi is still operating primary treatment only. The state of Alabama reported that Dauphin Island's Wastewater Treatment plant is now operating at limited capacity. This means that all municipal wastewater treatment facilities in Alabama and Mississippi are now considered to be operational.
Community Involvement Coordinators continue to coordinate collection of hazardous household waste. Citizens returning to their homes will be able to drop off any paints, solvents or other hazardous materials on specific day.