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Hurricane Katrina Response Activities Daily Update

Release Date: 10/7/2005
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

     Today, EPA released and posted to the Agency website six public service announcements warning of potential environmental health hazards to residents returning to hurricane impacted areas.  The PSAs are being actively promoted to area media to reach affected populations. The announcements address leaking natural gas lines; carbon monoxide poisoning from using un-vented fuel-burning equipment indoors; toxic fumes from household cleaners and disinfectants; airborne asbestos and lead dust; hazardous waste; and contaminated flood water. EPA is developing companion PSAs to reach non-English speakers, and is identifying other issues that may be covered in future PSAs to raise awareness of health and environmental concerns specific to the post-hurricane response.

     EPA's incident command operations began a logistically challenging move of operations from Baton Rouge to New Orleans.  The new location will allow support staff to be closer to operations, and should result in all personnel traveling less distance to accomplish response activities.  The move will continue through the weekend with most staff moving on Saturday.  Operations are continuing through the move.

     There continue to be ongoing efforts to collect household hazardous wastes for safe disposal in the area. These materials include batteries, paint, household cleaning solvents, lawn and garden products including pesticides, etc.  Current collection and/or drop off programs are underway in St. Tammany, Jefferson, Grand Isle, Orleans, Lafourche/Terrebonne and Plaquemines Parishes. Overall, EPA crews collected more than 6,700 hazardous debris and orphaned containers on Oct. 6, with a cumulative total of more than 58,537 containers collected to date.

     EPA and the Louisiana Dept. Of Health and Hospitals issued enforcement orders to truck operators in Louisiana and Texas for using trucks which were not certified to provide potable water.  EPA continued to perform water truck tank inspections and performed chlorine chlorine residual analyses at the East Jefferson, West Jefferson, and Algiers tank truck filling locations.

     Sampling of standing flood water and sediments continues, and will move into general storm water management as appropriate.  Bacteriological analyses of individual private well water supplies in Livingston Parish was performed and will continue.  Drinking water samples analysis from public water systems in Kinder Parish is ongoing and will continue for several weeks.  Water quality samples from the Jefferson, St. Charles, St. Tammany and Orleans Parishes were conducted by EPA and LDEQ.  Also, fecal coliform samples, VOC samples and air canister sampling were conducted at Mississippi River drinking water intakes located in Belle Chasse, New Orleans East, and New Orleans West.

     Air monitoring activity continues throughout the greater New Orleans area. EPA scientists in the Office of Research and Development are supporting the response activity by preparing to conduct a performance optimization burn to ensure effectiveness of Air Curtain Destructors.