Response to Hurricane Katrina
Boil Drinking Water
10/22 – 10/24/05
EPA has conducted more than 3,300 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.
Team 1 continued operations at a Hancock County vehicle maintenance facility and removed diesel fuel from a draining ditch where a 5,000-gallon tank had leaked. The team also responded to a report of pool chemicals and other hazardous material stored at a location in Waveland. The team discovered a strong chlorine smell coming from a shed, and personnel are conducting entry in the area to further assess the situation, conduct air monitoring and remove items.
Team 2 conducted assessment and removal activities in Waveland, while Team 3 also worked Bay Saint Louis. Team 4 investigated a diesel fuel spill where approximately 50 – 100 gallons of diesel fuel were released into a nearby drainage ditch. A vacuum truck was dispatched to pump out the ditch.
Teams 1 and 2 conducted assessment and removal activities in Waveland. They identified an approximately 1,000-gallon tank that had leaked and are investigating the need for soil removal.
Team 3 conducted assessment and removal activities in Bay Saint Louis.
Division B – Harrison County, Miss.
Teams 1 and 2 conducted beach sweeps in the Harrison County area, while Team 3 continued removal operations base on the items database.
Teams 1 and 2 began to systematically sweep areas picking up hazardous materials left curbside by debris removal teams.
Division C – Jackson County, Miss., and Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Ala.
Team 1 recovered household hazardous waste in Mobile County and transported all recovered items to the collection point in Bayou La Batre. Team 2 also collected household hazardous waste from various debris segregation and reduction sites and landfills in Jackson County.
EPA teams inspected landfills and closed staging areas located in Division C.
In Port Chickasaw, the team recovered 400 gallons of oily water from a vessel. The team also recovered 3755 gallons of fuel and 10 batteries in Bayou Portage. In Bayou Caddy, the team recovered 250 gallons of fuel.
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 84 PM 2.5, 84 PM 10 and 55 asbestos sample, along with 23 VOC, 23 SVOC, 23 carbonyls and 23 hexavalent chromium samples. All Air data results will be coordinated with EPA’s Emergency Response Team.
Lift Stations Branch
The Lift Stations Branch has completed the cleaning of sand and debris from sewer lines and manholes in Waveland, Ocean Springs, Pascagoula and selected locations in Biloxi and Gulfport, Miss. Pumps and generators have been installed at pump stations in Waveland, McClain, Bay Saint Louis, Biloxi and Pass Christian to provide sanitary service to those communities. They also provided Moss Point and Laurel with materials needed to being wastewater treatment. Currently, 15 pumps and two generators are maintained daily to supply sanitary service until permanent repairs can be made.
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 1,323 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.