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EPA Irma Recovery Update for September 22, 2017

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EPA Irma Recovery Update for September 22, 2017

WASHINGTON (September 22, 2017) – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to coordinate closely with local, state, tribal, and federal partners in response to Hurricane Irma. EPA has temporarily paused all response operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands due to Hurricane Maria.

Today EPA’s Mobile Command Post is in Miami and assessment and response teams are coordinating with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in the Florida Keys. EPA continues to coordinate with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on drinking water and wastewater issues.

EPA Region 4 Emergency Rapid Response Services (ERRS) contractors remove propane tanks as part of the agency’s Hurricane Irma response in Everglades City, Florida.  Teams of contractors under the direction of EPA are providing assistance to Collier County, Florida by managing large, orphan containers at the county collection center. – Photo credit: EPA

As of September 22, 2017, the following information is available:


Region 2:

  • EPA response personnel that had been responding to Hurricane Irma in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have been re-positioned due to Hurricane Maria. EPA is making preparations to send teams to re-assess the situation after Hurricane Maria and respond to both Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Region 4:

  • Yesterday, all assessment teams demobilized except for the Everglades recovery group. The group remained behind to assist Collier County with the management of large orphan containers at their county collection center. They will demobilize after completing their mission.
  • The Region has approximately 31 personnel involved in emergency response efforts as of September 22, 2017, and has demobilized the Incident Command in St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • USACE has requested additional EPA support to contact Florida water utilities. Water Team members in the EPA Region 4 office began contacting wastewater facilities classified as status “unknown” on September 18, 2017. FDEP is contacting public water systems with an “unknown” status. The Region 4 Facility Assessment Support Team (FAST) completed 934 call-down assessments as of September 22, 2017. EPA supported this activity by setting up a call center for facilities to check-in. Together, EPA and FDEP reduced the number of “unknown” public water and wastewater facilities from 810 and 1192, to 49 and 462 respectively since last Friday. The agencies anticipate making contact with the remaining facilities before the end of the week.
  • Today, USACE and representatives from the Region 4 Water Protection Division (WPD) traveled to Everglades City to assess water and wastewater facilities. The USACE/EPA Water Team performed an assessment of the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) in Everglades City on September 21. The water team will remain in the Naples area through today evaluating the need for further water sector assistance. FDEP is developing plans for assessing the status of 3,561 non-community, public water systems, and will submit the plan to the USACE/R4 FAST on September 25.
  • The state of Florida identified 214 targets to date for field assessment for hazardous material and/or oil related issues. All 214 assessments have been completed. The list is composed of a combination of Facility Response Plan (FRP) and Risk Management Plan (RMP) facilities.
  • The Region 4 Air, Pesticides, and Toxics Management Division (APTMD) has made contact with 272 of 274 RMP facilities located in Florida.
  • The SESD Mobile Laboratory remains prepared to conduct the following analyses for drinking water: total coliform, E. coli, fecal coliform, and enterococcus.
  • The Region 4 Superfund Division deployed six Rapid Assessment Teams to conduct rapid assessments of all National Priority List (NPL) sites. All 93 NPL sites in Florida have been assessed; all 22 sites in Georgia have been assessed; all 17 sites in Alabama have been assessed; and all 36 sites in South Carolina have been assessed.
  • The Region 4 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Division identified nine EPA-lead corrective action sites that were prioritized for assessment by NPL field teams. All sites have been assessed with no major impacts identified.
  • EPA is currently working with FDEP, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), and USACE to develop and implement debris management strategies and operations. Currently, EPA is working on debris and orphan container assessments in FEMA Branch IV in Lee, Collier, and Charlotte counties and in FEMA Branch III in Pasco and Pinellas counties at the state of Florida’s request.

Region 4 Federally Recognized Tribes:

  • Region 4 continues to coordinate with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to offer assistance a needed to tribes in the impacted areas.


  • NPDES Permits – Last week, EPA issued a letter to FDEP to ensure that all facilities impacted by Irma are familiar with the provisions included in their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits that allow for temporary noncompliance during emergency circumstances. This action helps ensure ports and other facilities get back into operation as quickly as possible while minimizing environmental impacts.
  • No Action Assurance (NAA) - EPA policy allows the agency to issue NAAs in cases where it is necessary to avoid extreme risks to public health and safety and where no other mechanism can adequately address the matters. The agency has issued the following NAAs related to Hurricane Irma:
    • On September 22, 2017, EPA extended enforcement discretion for petroleum distribution facilities, gasoline storage facilities and bulk fuel terminals in Florida that have been impacted or damaged by Hurricane Irma.
  • On September 21, 2017, EPA waived the highway diesel fuel red dye requirements to allow the use of 15 parts per million sulfur non-road diesel fuel for on-highway vehicles in Florida, effective immediately and through October 6, 2017. Diesel fuel distributed under this waiver may not be introduced into terminal storage tanks from which diesel is dispensed into trucks for distribution to retail outlets after October 6, 2017.
  • On September 15, EPA granted an NAA for the import of 255 power generators by the Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., to be donated for use in communities impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida, to assist in recovery efforts.
  • On September 13, 2017, EPA announced that it will not pursue enforcement for Clean Air Act violations related to the use of dyed diesel reserves in vehicles and equipment that are being used by Duke Energy to respond to Florida power outages as a result of Irma. Due to conditions related to the storm, Duke is not able to obtain adequate supplies of required ultra low sulfur diesel fuel needed to operate its fleet of response vehicles. This NAA was issued in response to a request from Florida Governor Rick Scott, is in effect immediately, and terminates when all diesel reserves have been used or by the end of the day on September 22, 2017, whichever comes first.
  • On September 11, 2017, EPA issued an NAA to assist all Florida power plant facilities to maintain the supply of electricity to customers and facilities. This action will help meet the needs of FDEP and will assist Florida utility generators to maintain the supply of electricity to customers and critical facilities in the state, while facilitating timely restoration of lost electrical service caused by Irma.
  • On Sunday, September 10, 2017, Florida requested and EPA issued an NAA for Tampa Electric Company’s Big Bend Station, Polk Power Station, and Bayside Power Station for compliance with air permit conditions to ensure adequate supply of electric power.
  • On Friday, September 8, 2017, EPA issued an NAA to allow emergency and backup electric generating units in Monroe County, Florida, the county that encompasses the Florida Keys, to operate without meeting all pollution controls in order to facilitate the supply of needed electricity during and after Irma.
  • Earlier this month, EPA extended a low-volatility conventional gasoline waiver through September 26, 2017, in 38 states and the District of Columbia.


  • EPA Region 4 has completed field-assessments of National Priority List (NPL) sites within the state of Florida and has contacted all Facility Response Plan (FRP) facilities through a combination of call-down and field assessments. The Region has reached out to all 274 Risk Management Plan (RMP) facilities within Florida and is working with FDEP to contact the two remaining facilities that have, to date, been unresponsive.
  • EPA’s six NPL Assessment Teams have completed assessments at all NPL sites in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina. The following issues have been identified:
    • Fairfax Wood Treating (Jacksonville, FL) - Due to heavy rain, some runoff concerns were identified at an on-site retention point and a washout underneath some site fencing. Security fencing around the site was damaged by fallen trees and minimal erosion was observed The site’s project manager is working with a contractor and fence repair is scheduled for September 26, 2017. Samples collected by EPA did not indicate any significant issues at the site from Hurricane Irma. A surface water sample collected after the hurricane showed concentrations lower than or similar to the surface water concentrations for multiple metals measured during the Remedial Investigation. A remedy to clean up the site has been selected and once the remediation is complete, the surface water from the site will be below the EPA cleanup values.
    • Post and Lumber Preserving Co, Inc. (Quincy, FL) – During a site assessment a tear in the geo-membrane cap was identified. The site’s EPA project manager is working with a contractor to assess the full extent of the damage and determine whether a patch might be sufficient.
    • Terry Creek Dredge Spoil Areas/Hercules Outfall (Brunswick, GA) – The site has minor damage and the responsible party is working with a contractor to address the issues.

For information and updates from EPA, visit: