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News Releases

News Releases from Headquarters

EPA Hurricane Irma Recovery Update for Wednesday September 27

09/27/2017
Contact Information: 
Press (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (September 27, 2017) – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to coordinate closely with local, state, tribal, and federal partners in response to Hurricane Irma.

EPA Planning Section Chief Matt Huyser (left) and EPA Unified Commander Ben Franco (center) brief U.S. Coast Guard members on EPA activities at the Unified Command in Miami. EPA Planning Section Chief Matt Huyser (left) and EPA Unified Commander Ben Franco (center) brief U.S. Coast Guard members on EPA activities at the Unified Command in Miami. EPA teams are leading land-based assessment and response actions, conducting inland assessment and looking for orphan containers as part of the ongoing Hurricane Irma response.EPA Region 4 has approximately 26 personnel involved in emergency response efforts as of September 27, 2017. In Miami, the Mobile Command Post is currently supporting the unified command with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and response activities with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in the Florida Keys.

On September 25, four EPA field teams arrived in the Florida Keys and established a forward command center at Marathon Key. These teams continue to the lead land-based assessment for the vessel mitigation and removal for the State of Florida and identify staging areas for orphan containers, hazardous waste, and fuel and oil recovered from vessels.

FDEP requested EPA’s Facility Assessment Support Team (FAST) provide assistance in assessing the status of 1,255 non-community public water systems. For consistency, FAST conducted a Just-in-Time Training, to outline procedures for conducting phone-assessments of non-community drinking water systems and began assessments September 26.

The Key Largo Water Team completed FDEP-assigned field assessments and met with utility personnel on the operational status of the drinking water system. The Naples Water Team also completed FDEP-assigned field assessments and visited two public water systems and a wastewater system. Pending the receipt of new assignments, EPA Water Team members will demobilize tomorrow.

A FEMA Mission Assignment was approved for the EPA Landfill Specialty Teams through October 3, 2017. To fulfill this mission two Landfill Technical Specialists from the Region 4 Resource Conservation and Restoration Division (RCRD) will mobilize today.

Region 4 Federally Recognized Tribes:

Region 4 continues to coordinate with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to offer assistance a needed to tribes in the impacted areas.

Permits

  • NPDES Permits – Last week, EPA issued a letter to FDEP to ensure that all facilities impacted by Irma are familiar with the provisions included in their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits that allow for temporary noncompliance during emergency circumstances. This action helps ensure ports and other facilities get back into operation as quickly as possible while minimizing environmental impacts.

Enforcement Actions

  • No Action Assurance (NAA) - EPA policy allows the agency to issue NAAs in cases where it is necessary to avoid extreme risks to public health and safety and where no other mechanism can adequately address the matters. The agency has issued the following NAAs related to Hurricane Irma:
    • On September 21, 2017, EPA extended enforcement discretion for petroleum distribution facilities, gasoline storage facilities and bulk fuel terminals in Florida that have been impacted or damaged by Hurricane Irma. This action will terminate on October 6, 2017.
  • On September 15, EPA granted an NAA for the import of 255 power generators by the Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., to be donated for use in communities impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida, to assist in recovery efforts.

Fuel Waivers

  • On September 21, 2017, EPA waived the highway diesel fuel red dye requirements to allow the use of 15 parts per million sulfur non-road diesel fuel for on-highway vehicles in Florida, effective immediately and through October 6, 2017. Diesel fuel distributed under this waiver may not be introduced into terminal storage tanks from which diesel is dispensed into trucks for distribution to retail outlets after October 6, 2017.

For information and updates from EPA, visit: www.epa.gov/hurricane-irma

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