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Katrina Response
Environmental Soil and Sediment Sampling
Gulf Coast of Mississippi
October 2005
with January 2006 Addendum

US-EPA, Region 4, SESD, Athens, Georgia

[ Full Report and Jan 2006 Addendum | EnviroMapper for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ]

Executive Summary

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall along the Gulf coast of the southeastern United States, causing unprecedented damage from eastern Louisiana to near Mobile, Alabama, due to the high winds and storm surge. During the week of October 3, 2005, the USEPA Region 4, Science and Ecosystem Support Division (SESD) collected soil and sediment samples near facilities in the affected areas in Mississippi to determine if flooding from the storm surge released hazardous constituents and materials. The facilities being investigated were located in the storm surge impacted portions of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson Counties in Mississippi. This investigation was requested by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the USEPA, Region 4, Waste Management Division.

The locations of these sites are shown and identified in Figure 1 (Appendix A), while Figures 2 through 7 show the facilities. Sample locations are shown in Figures 8 through 13, also included in Appendix A. The analytical data are presented in Section 6 and Appendix B of this report.

The analytical data presented in Section 6 and Appendix B of this report, was evaluated by the Region 4 Waste Management Division, Technical Services Section (TSS) to determine if there were any observable or attributable Post-Katrina impacts at the investigated sites. Technical Services Section staff reviewed the data presented in Section 6 and Appendix B. Evaluating the sampling data to determine if there was an off-site impact from Hurricane Katrina posed a challenge, due to the scarcity of preexisting sampling data and supporting information that could be used for data interpretation.

EPA’s conclusions regarding the potential impact of the hurricane on these sites are based on a comparison of post-hurricane data to available past sample data collected during any facility investigations or routine monitoring activities. In addition, the results were compared to EPA Region 9 Preliminary Remediation Goals (PRGs) to determine if conditions at the sites might represent previously unrecognized risks to human health and the environment. EPA Region 9 PRGs (available at: http://www.epa.gov/region9/waste/sfund/prg/index.html) are conservative risk-based concentrations based on long-term exposures in either a residential or commercial/industrial setting. They are considered by EPA to be protective for people (including sensitive groups) over a lifetime. The PRGs are not clean up standards, but used to assist EPA scientists and others in initial screening-level evaluations of environmental measurements. The impact evaluations are presented in Section 7 of this report.

The scope of the investigations at each site and the conclusions that were reached regarding releases or impacts from Hurricane Katrina are presented in the following site summaries. For the Risk Management Plan (RMP), Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) and Tier II Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) facilities, PRGs based on an industrial/commercial exposure situation were utilized, except in the case where samples were taken in the vicinity of residential development; in which case residential PRG soil screening values were used. The impact evaluations are presented in Section 7 of this report.

The scope of the investigations at each site and the conclusions that were reached regarding releases or impacts from Hurricane Katrina are presented in the following site summaries:

DuPont DeLisle - Pass Christian, Mississippi

Three surface soil and two sediment samples were collected at five locations. These samples were analyzed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), pesticides/PCBs, and metals. Low levels of metals, VOCs, pesticides, and SVOCs were detected in samples. Samples were also collected for dioxins. The dioxin data will be released in an addendum to this report when it is available. No PCBs were reported.

The Addendum has been released. Low levels of dioxin were detected in samples, but concentrations are below levels of concern near residential areas.

From a comparison with sampling conducted pre-hurricane Katrina there is no clear and consistent pattern of increased contamination levels that would clearly indicate a potential release in the area of the DuPont DeLisle facility due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina. None of the reported analytes exceeded risk-based soil screening benchmarks for an industrial exposure scenario, or residential PRGs in the vicinity of residential development northeast of the facility.

Chevron Pascagoula, First Chemical, Mississippi Phosphates - Pascagoula, Mississippi

Three surface soil and seven sediment samples were collected at ten locations. These samples were analyzed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), pesticides/PCBs, metals, and radionuclides (samples BC2 and BC4 were collected as part of another investigation, no radionuclide analyses were performed on these samples). Several metals were detected, along with low concentrations of VOCs, pesticides, and SVOCs. No PCBs were reported in these samples.

Several metals exceeded pre-hurricane concentrations, however these elevated concentrations were detected in sediments in a ditch that is part of a solid waste management unit on site property that was previously known to contain elevated metals concentrations and were the site of previous industrial activity. EPA believes the exceedances are not significant enough to clearly indicate an impact due to hurricane Katrina in light of the likelihood of pre-existing metals contamination in surficial soil and drainage ditch sediments. Maximum detected levels of the metals arsenic and chromium exceeded PRGs, however were within a risk-range considered acceptable by EPA in other regulatory contexts. It is unlikely that frequent and prolonged human contact with sediments under water in drainage ditches would occur. There does not appear to be an indication of a potential release in the area of the facilities due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Omega Protein - Moss Point, Mississippi

Three sediment samples were collected at three locations. These samples were analyzed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), pesticides/PCBs, and metals. Low concentrations of several metals were detected, along with several reported low concentrations of SVOCs. One PCB was reported. No VOCs were reported.

There is no indication of a potential release in the area of the Omega Protein facility due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina. None of the reported analytes exceeded human health benchmarks for exposed to contaminants in soil or sediment under a commercial/industrial scenario.

Port Bienville Industrial Park (Polychemie, Inc.) - Pearlington, Mississippi

Two surface soil and three sediment samples were collected at five locations. These samples were analyzed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), pesticides/PCBs, and metals. Low levels of several metals were detected, along with low levels of ten SVOCs, along with a few VOCs, and pesticides. No PCBs were reported for these samples.

Arsenic and benzo(a)pyrene exceeded PRGs but fell within a risk range of 1 in 1,000,000 to 1 in 10,000 risk over background of an individual developing cancer over a lifetime from long-term exposure to those concentrations, which EPA has found acceptable in other regulatory and remedial contexts. None of the remaining analytes detected in soil or sediment exceeded industrial PRG soil screening levels. There is no indication of a potential release in the area of the Polychemie, Inc. facility, due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Ershigs Fiberglass, Inc - Biloxi, Mississippi

Three surface soil and two sediment samples were collected at five locations. These samples were analyzed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), pesticides/PCBs, and metals. Low concentrations of several pesticides and SVOCs were reported. No VOCs or PCBs were reported.

Arsenic exceeded residential PRGs, however all detections were within a risk range of 1 in 1,000,000 to 1 in 10,000 risk over background of an individual developing cancer over a lifetime from long-term exposure to those concentrations, which EPA has found acceptable in other regulatory and remedial contexts. None of the other analytes exceeded residential PRG soil screening values. There does not appear to be indication of a potential release in the area of Ershigs Fiberglass due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Naval Construction Battalion Center - Gulfport, Mississippi

Five sediment samples were collected from the wetland north of this installation. These samples were analyzed for dioxins only. At the request of MDEQ, an additional four sediment samples were collected in November by SESD personnel from an outfall that may have been contaminated from a pre-Katrina event. These samples were analyzed for PCBs only. This data will be released in an addendum to this report when it becomes available.

The Addendum has been released. Low levels of dioxin were detected in samples, but concentrations are below levels of concern near residential areas. No PCBs were found in the samples collected from the un-named ditch.

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Katrina Response
Environmental Soil and Sediment Sampling
Gulf Coast of Mississippi
October 2005 and January 2006 Addendum
The following document is in Acrobat PDF format. It contains 365 pages and its size is 7.65 MegaBytes Full Report
The following document is in Acrobat PDF format. It contains 33 pages and its size is 2.9 MegaBytes Addendum

 

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