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News Releases from Headquarters

EPA Irma Update for Wednesday, September 13, 2017

09/13/2017
Contact Information: 
Press (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (September 13, 2017) – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to coordinate closely with local, state, and federal partners in response to Hurricane Irma, which is now a tropical depression.

As of September 13, 2017, the following information is available:

REGIONAL OPERATIONS CENTERS

Region 2:

•About 103 personnel are currently involved in response efforts. Assessment teams have been deployed to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and are conducting on-the-ground operations.

•EPA has two teams in Puerto Rico and four teams in the U.S Virgin Islands to conduct water and debris assessments and hazard evaluations.

Region 4:

•The Region has approximately 57 personnel involved in emergency response efforts at the Regional Emergency Operations Center (REOC), the FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) in Atlanta, and the Florida State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Tallahassee.

•The EPA Region 4 Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center (AFC) is open today and the Regional Emergency Operations Center (REOC) remains operational and staffed.

Florida:

•Regional Administrator Trey Glenn is returning to the Florida SEOC in Tallahassee today, September 13, 2017.

•Facility assessment teams will begin assessing the 185 priority facilities, within 23 counties, identified by the Florida SEOC ESF-10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response) Desk. The list is composed of a combination of Facility Response Plan (FRP) and Risk Management Plan (RMP) facilities.

•The Region 4 Superfund program deployed six Rapid Assessment teams, comprised of Remedial Project Managers (RPMs) and field staff from the Region 4 Science and Ecosystems Support Division (SESD), to Florida to conduct rapid assessments at all National Priority List (NPL) sites in the state. Rapid assessments of NPL sites begin today.

•The Region 4 Water Protection Division (WPD) continues to coordinate with FDEP and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on water and drinking water issues. The Water Team arrived in Tallahassee yesterday and will join USACE at the Florida SEOC to support preliminary water and wastewater system assessments. Water and wastewater facilities continue to submit their requests for assistance. As of September 12, 2017, the state has not requested federal assistance for resources for the water sector and are instead utilizing resources available from within the state. The WPD compiled an inventory of community drinking water systems (CWS) and Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) that may be used during post-storm damage assessment in Florida.

•The SESD Mobile Laboratory remains prepared to conduct the following analyses for drinking water: total coliform, E. coli, fecal coliform, and enterococcus.

•The Region 4 Air, Pesticide & Toxic Management Division (APTMD) continues to contact Florida RMP facilities to determine their status after Hurricane Irma.

•The Region 4 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Division identified four EPA-lead RCRA corrective action sites in Florida to be assessed by field assessment teams as they deploy to nearby areas.

Alabama:

•The Alabama Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is currently operating the SEOC at Level 3 (elevated) activation. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) notified Region 4 that the 195 RMP facilities in Alabama have not been impacted. EPA is maintaining communication with the state to determine if EPA assistance is needed.

Georgia:

•The Georgia SEOC is currently operating at a Level 1 (full activation and fully staffed) activation. Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) notified Region 4 that the 275 RMP facilities in Georgia have not been impacted. EPA is maintaining communication with the state to determine if EPA assistance is needed.

•An EPA-lead RCRA site in Georgia will be assessed by field assessment teams as they deploy to nearby areas.

•Three additional NPL Rapid Assessment Teams are deploying to Georgia and South Carolina to conduct rapid assessments at all NPL sites. Rapid assessments of NPL sites begin today.

North Carolina:

•The North Carolina SEOC is currently operating at Level 4 activation. They are monitoring tropical weather forecasts. EPA is maintaining communication with the state to determine if EPA assistance is needed.

South Carolina:

•The South Carolina State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is currently operating at Level 1 (full operation) activation. EPA is maintaining communication with the state to determine if EPA assistance is needed.

•An EPA-lead RCRA site in South Carolina will be assessed by field assessment teams as they deploy to nearby areas.

•Three additional NPL Rapid Assessment Teams are deploying to Georgia and South Carolina to conduct rapid assessments at all NPL sites. Rapid assessments of NPL sites began today.

Mississippi:

•The Mississippi SEOC is currently operating at Level 3 (modified). EPA is maintaining communication with the state to determine if EPA assistance is needed.

Tennessee:

•Tennessee SEOC went to a Level 4 (elevated) activation. The SEOC will remain activated with 24-hour operations. EPA is maintaining communication with the state to determine if EPA assistance is needed.

Region 4 Federally Recognized Tribes:

•Region 4 continues to coordinate with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

RISK MANAGEMENT PLANS (RMPS)

•EPA is communicating with the Risk Management Program (RMP) and Facility Response Plan (FRP) bulk oil facilities to ensure they are secure and identify any vulnerabilities.

•EPA’s remedial program is currently performing desk-top triage of all remedial sites in Region 4 coastal states.

•EPA Region 4 has prepared a Site-Specific Data Management Plan for the incident.

ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS AND FUEL WAIVERS

•EPA and FDEP are coordinating to ensure all facilities impacted by Irma are familiar with the provisions included in their National Pollution 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.

•On Monday, EPA issued a No Action Assurance to assist all Florida power plant facilities to maintain the supply of electricity to customers and facilities in Florida. This action will help meet the needs of FDEP and will assist Florida utility generators to maintain the supply of electricity to customers and critical facilities in the state, while facilitating timely restoration of lost electrical service caused by Irma.

•On Sunday, Florida requested and EPA issued a No Action Assurance for Tampa Electric Company’s Big Bend Station, Polk Power Station, and Bayside Power Station for compliance with air permit condition to ensure adequate supply of electric power.

•On Friday, EPA issued a No Action Assurance to allow emergency and backup electric generating units in Monroe County, Florida, the county that encompasses the Florida Keys, to operate without meeting all pollution controls in order to facilitate the supply of needed electricity during and after Irma.

•EPA will issue additional No Action Assurances as requested by FDEP, will help Florida get fuel to gas stations quicker, and will ensure that fuel deliveries won't be delayed as a result of power outages at bulk fuel terminals.

•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 matters.

•Last week, EPA extended a low-volatility conventional gasoline waiver through September 26, 2017, in 38 states and the District of Columbia.

•EPA also issued a Red-Dye Diesel fuel waiver for vehicles used for emergency response and evacuations.

REGION 2 SUPERFUND SITES, OIL SITES AND OTHER FACILITIES

•EPA Region 2 has completed preliminary assessments of all 19 Superfund sites in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. No significant damage has been reported at any of the sites. Assessments were done by a mix of field visits, reaching out to responsible parties and contractors and, in some cases, via U.S. Coast Guard fly-over.

•EPA Region 2’s regulated facility team is actively gathering information from regulated facilities via facility personnel in both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. EPA has completed initial assessments of 89 facilities in Puerto Rico. To date, there have been no reported major spills or chemical releases at regulated facilities in Puerto Rico.

•EPA is beginning its assessment of regulated facilities in the U.S. Virgin Islands and has completed initial assessment of about a dozen facilities on St. Croix, with no major spills or chemical releases reported.

REGION 4 SUPERFUND SITES, OIL SITES AND OTHER FACILITIES

•Region 4 Remedial Project Managers and Science and Ecosystem Support Division Personnel are deploying today to Florida to assess Nation Priority List (NPL) Superfund sites.

•NPL Rapid Assessment Teams will deploy to Orlando today, September 13, 2017, and from there will spread out over five geographic regions in Florida as identified by the Regional Operations Center.

•EPA staff is also coordinating with local government partners to conduct initial assessments of Superfund sites.

•Local partners were able to make initial visual assessments of the three Superfund sites in Palm Beach County – Solitron Devices, BMI-Textron, and Trans Circuits – and all were found to be secure with no signs of damage or flooding.

•Although not a Superfund site, EPA state partner FDEP is actively monitoring the New Wales Mosaic operating fertilizer manufacturing facility in Polk County and all of the facilities that maintain gypsum stacks. FDEP worked proactively, communicating with these facilities ahead of the storm.

•Like the various other facilities identified for post-landfall assessment by the Hazardous Assessment Response Team and other response teams, the New Wales Mosaic site and others like it will be properly assessed to ensure there are no potential adverse impacts to human health and the environment.

•Prior to the storm, EPA Region 4’s remedial program completed rapid assessment (desk-top triage) of all 90 remedial sites in within the state of Florida.

•EPA Region 4 Superfund division plans to perform field assessments at all NPL sites in Florida. A list of Superfund sites in the state is available here.

•NPL Rapid Assessment Teams attempted to deploy to five geographic regions in Florida yesterday; however, substantial post-evacuation traffic delayed the arrival of some teams. Teams unable to reach their assigned post will complete mobilization today.

•Three additional NPL Rapid Assessment Teams are deploying to Georgia and South Caroline to conduct rapid assessments at all NPL sites.

DEBRIS MANAGEMENT:

•EPA Region 2 debris assessment teams have been deployed to both Puerto Rico and the USVI and are in the process of assessing debris removal and management needs.

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

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