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EPA Responds to Flooding in Western North Carolina

Release Date: 09/14/2004
Contact Information: Carl Terry, (404) 562-8327,
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is responding to potential hazardous material and oil releases in western North Carolina, caused by flooding from Tropical Storm Frances.   The Emergency Response and Removal Branch (ERRB) from the Agency’s Regional Office in Atlanta is assisting the State of North Carolina with assessment and recovery operations.  EPA initially mobilized in the area on Wednesday, September 8, 2004.

   EPA established an Incident Command Post (ICP) at the Swannanoa office of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR).  For operational purposes, EPA divided the 15 declared disaster counties into three geographic regions.  EPA has mobilized 11 EPA staff members, 2 emergency response contractors, and Superfund technical support contractors.  To date, EPA’s Response activities, with assistance from the U.S.Coast Guard’s Gulf Strike Team and contractors, include the following:

    • Removal of numerous drums, tanks, containers in the Pigeon river, near the town of Canton, and in the Swannanoa River;
    • assessment and collection of containers in the Toe River in Mitchell and Yancey Counties as well as Hominy Creek in Buncombe County;
    • mitigation of petroleum releases at Mountain Energy Corporation located in Asheville, NC.  Approximately 20,000 gallons of diesel oil and oil water were recovered from leaking tanks or from saturated soil to prevent releases into the Swannanoa River;
    • hazardous material reconnaissance in Transylvania and Jackson Counties;  and
    • emergency removal operation to address tanks floating on water bodies throughout affected areas.
EPA will continue to provide assistance to the State with assessment and cleanup operations as needed.