An official website of the United States government.

We've made some changes to EPA.gov. If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

News Releases

News Releases from HeadquartersLand and Emergency Management (OLEM)

EPA Hurricane Florence Update Monday, September 17, 2018

09/17/2018
Contact Information: 

WASHINGTON (September 17, 2018) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is coordinating closely with local, tribal, 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, and the National Response Center. EPA is also monitoring 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 17, 2018, the following information is available:  

UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 17, 2018

  • EPA Region 3 has provided FEMA information on Risk Management Plan facilities, Federal Response Plan facilities, and NPL Sites in Virginia and southern West Virginia area. 
  • In coordination with the Virginia Department of Health, we can report that there are no impacts to drinking water utilities. We’ll continue to coordinate with Virginia and other states in the region as the storm moves through the region. FEMA Region 3 is deactivating all the ESFs at 5:00 pm today.  
  • EPA Region 3 is monitoring the storm and the potential impacts, if any, on the National Priorities List (NPL) sites that may be affected. The monitoring includes coordination with the state and local authorities in the area of the sites, and if needed, site visits may follow once the storm passes. To date, there is no storm related damage to report. 
  • EPA Region 3 is prepared to address releases of hazardous materials and oil, if requested, including flooding impacts to hazardous sites.    
  • EPA's Region 3 NPL Federal Facility Program has been in close communication with the environmental restoration programs at Department of Defense Superfund sites. To date, there are no storm-related impacts to report. We are continuing to coordinate as the storm moves through the Region.  
  • On September 16, FEMA issued a Mission Assignment (MA) for Direct Federal Assistance (DFA) to EPA Region 4 to provide ESF-10 assistance to North Carolina including, but not limited to facility assessment and oil and hazardous substance response. The MA was in the amount of $2.3 million with a 25 percent State cost share and has a period of performance from September 15 to October 15.   
  • EPA is working with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) to coordinate resources and prepare for joint field assessments later this week under the DFA MA issued yesterday. An EPA Incident Commander mobilized this morning to the North Carolina SEOC to prepare for activation of EPA assessment teams.  
  • EPA Region 4 received notification of a train derailment near Lilesville, North Carolina last night and an unknown volume of diesel was released from the fuel tanks of the locomotives. The derailment reportedly occurred due to a washout of the railway as a result of Hurricane Florence. An EPA On-Scene Coordinator and Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team (START) consultants were deployed to assess the scene, ensure adequate response, provide air monitoring and other operational support, as needed. The diesel fuel accumulated in a low-lying area and did not reach the Pee Dee River. CSX contractors are on-scene and mitigating the spill.  
  • EPA is monitoring hog lagoons in storm-impacted areas and is coordinating with North Carolina, as needed, to assess impacts to downstream drinking water intakes due to possible releases. EPA On-Scene Coordinators and equipment stand ready to deploy, if needed. 
  • EPA is closely coordinating with North Carolina and coal ash impoundment operators to assess the status of any facilities impacted by the storm, and will provide assistance as needed or requested by the State. 
  • North Carolina has reported 21 Community Water Systems that are currently operating with restrictions and 16 that are not supplying drinking water. North Carolina has reported seven Publicly Owned Treatment Works that are in non-operational status. An EPA Water Division technical specialist at the North Carolina Emergency Operation Center is supporting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, North Carolina Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network, and NCDEQ to monitor the status of North Carolina’s wastewater treatment facility systems. 
  • As EPA Region 4 moves into the recovery phase of our response to Hurricane Florence, EPA’s Region 4 Superfund Division will coordinate post landfall assessments of National Priorities List (NPL) and NPL Caliber Superfund sites impacted by the storm. In collaboration with our state partners and once conditions allow, EPA will deploy Superfund Reconnaissance Teams to conduct visual inspections of affected sites in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia which will: 
    • Document visual damage and/or potential migration of contaminants; 
    • Document site conditions at the point of entry and exit;  
    • Document restoration of utilities (if applicable); and 
    • Complete the field survey check-list and photo(s). 

The list of inspected sites will be updated daily for the media. 

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 13, 2018, EPA Office of Emergency Management Reggie Cheatham participated in a press briefing at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C. He is also  participating in daily press briefings coordinated by FEMA. 
  • Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler continues to convene the Policy Coordinating Committee for coordination around the response. 

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.  
  • EPA deployment teams have been identified for post-landfall assessment and response, if needed. 
  • EPA Region 3 has provided FEMA information on Risk Management Plan facilities, Federal Response Plan facilities, and NPL Sites in Virginia and southern West Virginia area. 
  • In coordination with the Virginia Department of Health, we can report that there are no impacts to drinking water utilities. We’ll continue to coordinate with Virginia and other states in the region as the storm moves through the region. FEMA Region 3 is deactivating all the ESFs at 5:00 pm today.  
  • The Region is monitoring the storm and the potential impacts, if any, on the NPL Sites that may be affected. The monitoring includes coordination with state and local authorities in the area of the Sites, and if needed, site visits may follow once the storm passes. To date, there no storm related damage to report. 
  • EPA Region 3 is prepared to address releases of hazardous materials and oil, if requested, including flooding impacts to hazardous sites.  
  • 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.  
  • EPA's Region 3 NPL Federal Facility Program has been in close communication with the environmental restoration programs at Department of Defense Superfund sites. To date, there are no storm-related impacts to report. We are continuing to coordinate as the storm moves through the Region. 

Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Emergency Operations Center is activated from normal operations to enhanced monitoring to maintain situational awareness, plan for the possible effects of the flooding, as well as coordinate the response to any potential impacts across the Commonwealth.

Virginia: The Virginia State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is in full 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 at enhanced activation. 

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 is operating at enhanced monitoring status. 

Region 4: The EPA Region 4 Regional Emergency Operations Center (R4 REOC) is activated. It is currently operating 12-hours daily. Region 4 has approximately 28personnel 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. 
  • 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). 

  • FEMA issued a Mission Assignment (MA) for Direct Federal Assistance (DFA) to EPA R4 on September 16 to provide ESF-10 assistance to North Carolina including, but not limited to facility assessment and oil and hazardous substance response. The MA was in the amount of $2.3 million with a 25 percent State cost share and has a period of performance from September 15 to October 15.   
  • EPA is working with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) to coordinate resources and prepare for joint field assessments later this week under the DFA MA issued yesterday. An EPA Incident Commander mobilized this morning to the SEOC to prepare for activation of EPA assessment teams.  
  • EPA Region 4 received notification of a train derailment near Lilesville, North Carolina last night and an unknown volume of diesel was released from the fuel tanks of the locomotives. The derailment reportedly occurred due to a washout of the railway as a result of Hurricane Florence. An EPA On-Scene Coordinator and Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team (START) consultants were deployed to assess the scene, ensure adequate response, provide air monitoring and other operational support, as needed. The diesel fuel accumulated in a low-lying area and did not reach the Pee Dee River. CSX contractors are on-scene and mitigating the spill.  
  • EPA is monitoring hog lagoons in storm-impacted areas and is coordinating with North Carolina, as needed, to assess impacts to downstream drinking water intakes due to possible releases. EPA On-Scene Coordinators and equipment stand ready to deploy, if needed. 
  • EPA is closely coordinating with North Carolina and coal ash impoundment operators to assess the status of any facilities impacted by the storm, and will provide assistance as needed or requested by the State. 
  • 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.
  • North Carolina has reported 21 Community Water Systems that are currently operating with restrictions and 16 that are not supplying drinking water. North Carolina has reported seven Publicly Owned Treatment Works that are in non-operational status. An EPA Water Division technical specialist at the North Carolina Emergency Operation Center is supporting the US Army Corps of Engineers, North Carolina Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network and North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to monitor the status of North Carolina’s wastewater treatment facility systems. 
  • 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.  

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

  • 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. 
  • The State has made no further request for EPA assistance. 
  • 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.  

Georgia: The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is currently operating their State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) at Level 3 (Actively Monitoring Operations). EPA Region 4 continues to maintain communication with the State to provide support at the ESF-10 Desk in the SEOC, as needed. 

  • EPA has not received a request for assistance from the State. 
  • 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. 

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 2 (partial activation) and is preparing for the likelihood of impacts from Hurricane Florence. 
  • Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), Cherokee, NC: The State of Emergency issued September 14, remains in effect. The EBCI EOC remains partially activated and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma continues to work with the ECBI on addressing potential impacts from the storm.

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. 
  • As EPA Region 4 moves into the recovery phase of our response to Hurricane Florence, EPA’s Region 4 Superfund Division will coordinate post landfall assessments of National Priorities List (NPL) and NPL Caliber Superfund sites impacted by the storm. In collaboration with our state partners and once conditions allow, EPA will deploy Superfund Reconnaissance Teams to conduct visual inspections of affected sites in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia which will: 
    • Document visual damage and/or potential migration of contaminants; 
    • Document site conditions at the point of entry and exit;  
    • Document restoration of utilities (if applicable); and 
    • Complete the field survey check-list and photo(s). 

The list of inspected sites will be updated daily for the media. 

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