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News Releases from HeadquartersLand and Emergency Management (OLEM)

EPA Hurricane Florence Update Friday, September 14, 2018

09/14/2018
Contact Information: 

WASHINGTON (September 14, 2018) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is coordinating closely with local, state, and federal partners as the Agency focuses on responding to the impacts of Hurricane Florence. EPA is monitoring numerous sources of information for reports on releases of oil and hazardous substances from first responders engaged in search and rescue efforts, as well as media observations and reporting, information from facility personnel embedded at their sites, the National Response Center, and information flows from the local command posts, state, and regional emergency operations centers.  

EPA On-Scene Coordinators (OSCs) are deployed to the State Emergency Operation Centers (SEOCs) in North Carolina and South Carolina and to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional Response Coordination Center in Atlanta to assist with Emergency Support Function (ESF) 10 for Oil and Hazardous Substances response efforts. Additional OSCs and equipment are ready to deploy. EPA continues to coordinate with our federal, state, tribal, and local government partners to provide assistance as needed.

As of September 14, 2018, the following information is available: 

UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 14, 2018

  • Today, Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler convened a Policy Coordinating Committee call at the EPA headquarters Emergency Operations Center (EOC). 
  • EPA deployment teams have been identified for post-landfall assessment and response, if needed. 
  • EPA’s Region 3 National Priority List (NPL) Federal Facility Program has been in close communication with the environmental restoration programs at Department of Defense Superfund sites. 
  • EPA has updated the list of Superfund sites in the potential impact area of Hurricane Florence based on storm movement (see Region 3 and Region 4 Superfund Sites, Oil Sites, and Other Facilities sections below). 
  • EPA continues to monitor Superfund sites in the projected storm path. 

HEADQUARTERS EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER 

  • The EPA headquarters EOC is partially activated. EPA is staffing ESF-10 for oil and hazardous materials at the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA headquarters. 
  • On September 12, 2018, Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler convened the Policy Coordinating Committee at the headquarters EOC.
  • On September 13, 2018, EPA Office of Emergency Management Reggie Cheatham participated in a press briefing at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C. 
  • Today, Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler convened a Policy Coordinating Committee call at the EPA headquarters EOC. 

REGIONAL OPERATIONS CENTERS 

Region 3: The EPA Region 3 Regional Emergency Operations Center (R3 REOC) is partially activated. Region 3 has approximately 15 personnel currently involved in emergency response efforts. 

  • EPA Region 3 Administrator Cosmo Servidio remains in contact with Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to discuss needs for EPA support.  No support has been requested. Regional Administrator Servidio has also been in touch with Region 4 Regional Administrator Trey Glenn for coordination purposes.
  • Logistics and resource staff are working to have response personnel and resources accounted for and available. Region 3’s Regional Incident Coordination Team is on standby to support response efforts through the weekend.  
  • EPA deployment teams have been identified for post-landfall assessment and response, if needed. 
  • Region 3 received a Federal Operational Support Mission Assignment for ESF-10 activation and is staffing FEMA Region 3’s Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC). 
  • The EPA Region 3 Watchstander at the FEMA Region 3 RRCC is coordinating with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in anticipation of a potential hazardous debris mission assignment. EPA is preparing needed resources to address releases of hazardous materials and oil, if requested, including flooding impacts to hazardous sites.  
  • Region 3 NPL Federal Facility Program has been in close communication with the environmental restoration programs at Department of Defense Superfund sites. 

Virginia: The Virginia State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is in partial activation status. 

  • EPA Region 3’s Water Protection Division is coordinating with the Virginia Department of Health on potential impacts to drinking water facilities and support to the state. EPA Region 3 is also coordinating with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on handling drinking water and waste water mission assignments, if necessary. 
  • On September 12, 2018, EPA Acting Administrator Wheeler signed a fuel waiver for Virginia. EPA has waived the federal Reid vapor pressure requirements for fuel sold in designated areas in Virginia to minimize problems with the supply of gasoline. This waiver will continue through September 15, 2018, which is the end of the summer fuel season. EPA has also waived the requirement to use reformulated gasoline in the southern part of Virginia and the prohibition on the blending of reformulated gasoline blendstock for oxygenated blending with other gasoline, blendstock or oxygenate in Virginia. These waivers are effective through September 30, 2018. 

Maryland: The Maryland State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is in enhanced watch status. 

District of Columbia: The District of Columbia Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is at normal operations. 

West Virginia: Governor has declared a State of Preparedness. West Virginia EOC will assess situation and stand up as needed. 

Region 4: The EPA Region 4 Regional Emergency Operations Center (R4 REOC) is activated. It is currently operating 12-hours daily and will continue that status through the weekend. Region 4 has approximately 26 personnel currently involved in emergency response efforts. 

  • EPA Region 4 Administrator Trey Glenn remains in contact with Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina and is working with emergency response staff to determine regional assessment and response deployment activities. Other Region 4 states have also been contacted to offer support in the event of hurricane impacts.  
  • Regional Administrator Glenn remains in contact Region 3 Regional Administrator Servidio for coordination purposes.
  • EPA Liaison Officers are deployed to the FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center. 
  • The region has identified deployment teams and a response structure, and are prepared for post-landfall assessment and response.  
  • On September 13, the Response Support Corps Coordinator and R4 REOC Manager met with response staff today to provide a hurricane briefing and update on R4 REOC operations, roles, and responsibilities. 
  • EPA Region 4’s Regional Readiness Center has the Mobile Command Post, emergency response trailers, utility terrain vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, the breathing air trailer, communications equipment, air monitoring instruments, and field equipment ready for deployment. 

North Carolina: The North Carolina State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is currently operating at Level 1 (full activation). 

  • On September 11, 2018, EPA Acting Administrator Wheeler signed a fuel waiver for North Carolina. This waiver relieves the requirements to use summer blend fuel, is effective immediately, and continues until September 15, which is the end for the high ozone season. Additionally, a blending waiver was signed, which is effective immediately and continues through October 1.  
  • At the state’s request, the EPA North Carolina out-posted On-Scene Coordinator began staffing the North Carolina SEOC ESF-10 desk on September 10. 
  • A technical expert from the EPA Region 4 Water Division has been deployed to the North Carolina SEOC to support the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for water/wastewater issues. The deployment is via a subtask under an ESF-3 mission assignment.
  • EPA has completed a call-down of Facility Response Plan facilities to verify pre-storm readiness in coastal counties of North Carolina.  

South Carolina: The South Carolina EOC is currently at OPCON 1 activation (Full ESF Activation — 24-hour operations).   

  • On September 11, 2018, EPA Acting Administrator Wheeler signed a fuel waiver for South Carolina. This waiver relieves the requirements to use summer blend fuel, is effective immediately, and continues until September 15, which is the end for the high ozone season. Additionally, a blending waiver was signed, which is effective immediately and continues through October 1.  
  • At the state's request, the EPA South Carolina out-posted On-Scene Coordinator began staffing the South Carolina ECO ESF-10 desk on September 12. 
  • EPA has completed a call-down of Facility Response Plan facilities to verify pre-storm readiness in coastal counties of South Carolina.  

Georgia: The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is currently operating their State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) at Level 1 (full activation). EPA Region 4 continues to maintain communication with the State to provide support at the ESF-10 Desk in the SEOC, as needed. 

  • On September 12, 2018, EPA  Acting Administrator Wheeler signed a fuel waiver for Georgia. EPA has waived the federal Reid vapor pressure requirements for fuel sold in designated areas in Georgia to minimize problems with the supply of gasoline. This waiver will continue through September 15, 2018, which is the end of the summer fuel season. EPA has also waived the prohibition on the blending of reformulated gasoline blendstock for oxygenated blending with other gasoline, blendstock or oxygenate in Georgia. These waivers are effective through September 30, 2018. 
  • On September 13, 2018, EPA granted a request from the State of Georgia to revise its September 12th emergency fuel waiver to allow the sale and distribution of gasoline with a Reid vapor pressure of up to 11.5 pounds per square inch before the addition of any ethanol. EPA has granted this revised temporary waiver to help ensure that an adequate supply of gasoline is available in the State of Georgia until normal supply to the region can be restored. This revised waiver will continue through September 15, 2018, which is the end of the high ozone season. All other provisions of the September 12 waiver remain unchanged. 
  • EPA has not received a request for assistance from the State. 

Region 4 Federally Recognized Tribes: Region 4 continues to coordinate with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.   

  • Catawba Indian Nation, Rock Hill, SC: The Catawba Indian Nation is currently operating at OPCON 1 (partial activation) and is preparing for the likelihood of impacts from Hurricane Florence. 
  • Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), Cherokee, NC: As of today, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Nation report that they do not have any immediate concerns.  

ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS   

  • EPA has waived the federal Reid vapor pressure requirements for fuel sold in designated areas in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia to minimize problems with the supply of gasoline. EPA has also waived in these same states the prohibition on the blending of reformulated gasoline blendstock for oxygenated blending with other gasoline blendstock or oxygenate. EPA intends these waivers to assist in distributing fuel needed for voluntary and mandatory evacuations.
  • EPA has issued no action assurances as requested by North Carolina, and South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia to help avoid delays in fuel distribution. EPA policy allows the Agency to issue no action assurances in cases where it is necessary to avoid extreme risks to public health and safety and where no other mechanism can adequately address the matter. Under these no action assurances, EPA will not pursue enforcement actions against tanker trucks under air quality regulations governing the testing for tank tightness and associated documentation.
  • In addition, it is expected that damage from the storm and/or power outages could impact the vapor recovery systems at fuel loading facilities. To address this concern, EPA has issued two no action assurances as requested by Virginia and North Carolina regarding the loading and unloading of fuel at bulk gasoline terminals, pipeline breakout stations, marine tank vessel loading operations, and gasoline loading racks. Pursuant to these no action assurances and the conditions contained in them, EPA will not pursue enforcement actions for violations of the Clean Air Act vapor recovery requirements for these fuel loading and unloading operations in those states.

REGION 3 SUPERFUND SITES, OIL SITES, AND OTHER FACILITIES 

  • Based on the current projected path of Hurricane Florence, Region 3 has identified 20 sites (see below) within the potential impact zone of Southeast Virginia/Hampton Roads. Region 3 is updating information for National Priorities List (NPL) data layer, as well as facilities that are subject to Risk Management Plans, and large oil facilities that are covered by Facility Response Plans on the Response Dashboard GIS map.  
  1. Abex Corp., Virginia  
  2. Atlantic Wood Industries Inc., Virginia  
  3. Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Virginia  
  4. Peck Iron and Metal, Virginia  
  5. Norfolk Naval Base (Sewells Point), Virginia  
  6. Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia  
  7. Chisman Creek, Virginia  
  8. Naval Weapons Station – Yorktown, Virginia  
  9. NWS Yorktown – Cheatham Annex, Virginia  
  10. Saunders Supply Co, Virginia  
  11. Suffolk City Landfill, Virginia  
  12. C&R Battery Co., Inc., Virginia  
  13. Defense General Supply Center (DLA), Virginia  
  14. St. Juliens Creek Annex (US Navy), Virginia  
  15. Former Nansemond Odnance Depot, Virginia  
  16. Naval Surface Warfare Center – Dahlgren, Virginia  
  17. Marine Corps. Combat Development CMD, Virginia  
  18. Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland  
  19. Langley Airforce Base/NASA Langley, Virginia  
  20. Fort Eustis (US Army), Virginia 

REGION 4 SUPERFUND SITES, OIL SITES, AND OTHER FACILITIES 

  • The EPA Oil Program contacted 25 coastal North Carolina and South Carolina Facility Response Plan facilities to assess readiness and verify contacts for post-storm assessments. 
  • EPA Region 4 coordinated with North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia on the status of Superfund sites in their states, as well as a total number of Risk Management Plan facilities, Federal Response Plan facilities, drinking water systems, and wastewater treatment systems to help them as they prepare their response plans.  
  • The Superfund Remedial program completed vulnerability assessments of NPL sites within potentially impacted coastal zones. Though these facilities may be subject to flooding, EPA does not believe that there is a significant likelihood of hazardous substance release or damage due to the storm. EPA Region 4 is preparing to put boots on the ground to assess these sites for damage and take appropriate action once the storm conditions allow. The following NPL sites have been identified as most vulnerable to potential coastal zone impact: 
  1. Macalloy Corporation, Charleston, South Carolina  
  2. Kopper CO., INC, Charleston, South Carolina  
  3. Geiger, Charleston, South Carolina  
  4. Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Beaufort, South Carolina  
  5. Wamchem, INC, Beaufort, South Carolina  
  6. Burlington, Cheraw, South Carolina 
  7. Triangle Pacific Corporation, Pasquotank, North Carolina  
  8. Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, Craven, North Carolina  
  9. Horton Iron and Metal, New Hanover, North Carolina  
  10. FCX, INC, Beaufort, North Carolina  
  11. Holtra Chem/Honeywell INC., Columbus, North Carolina  
  12. Weyerhaeuser CO Plymouth Wood Treating Plant, Martin, North Carolina 
  13. Kerr-McGee Chemical Corp – Navassa, Navassa, North Carolina 
  14. CAMP Lejeune Military Res. (US NAVY), Onslow, North Carolina 
  15. ABC One Hour Cleaners, Onslow, North Carolina 
  16. Wright Chemical Corporation, Riegelwood, North Carolina 
  17. Flanders Filters Inc, Beaufort, North Carolina 
  18. LCP Chemicals Georgia, Brunswick, Georgia 
  19. Hercules 009 Landfill, Brunswick, Georgia 
  20. Brunswick Wood Preserving, Brunswick, Georgia 
  21. Terry Creek Dredge Spoil Areas/Hercules Outfall, Brunswick, Georgia 

For more information please visit: https://response.epa.gov/florence