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Murphy Oil Sampling Data Released

Release Date: 12/23/2005
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

Contact:  Eryn Witcher, 202-564-4355 /

     On Dec. 22, EPA posted 189 more Murphy Oil samples taken at residential and other properties near the oil spill at Murphy's Meraux Refinery in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.  These most recent sample results were consistent with other samples taken.  The primary contaminants detected in the new sediment samples that were above the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Risk Evaluation/Corrective Action Screening Standards for Soil were polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are commonly found in fuel oils and crude oil, and diesel and oil range organic chemicals.  The screening levels were intended to be protective levels based on long-term (i.e., 30-year) exposures to children and adults in a residential setting.

     EPA recommends, in the short-term, that residents returning to the area should avoid direct contact with the crude oil contaminated sediments.  These compounds can pose a skin irritation problem if they get onto bare or broken skin.  Skin contact with crude oils for short periods may cause itchy, red, sore, or peeling skin.

     To date, Murphy has collected 4903 sediment samples from 2842 residences.  Of the 4903 sediment samples collected, US EPA has sent 515 split samples for separate analyses.  US EPA has received, evaluated and is posted the results of the first 464 samples.  US EPA will continue to post the results of these samples as they become available.          
     For more information on these results and EPA recommendations, visit: