News Releases from Headquarters
EPA Tropical Storm Irma Update for Monday, September 11, 2017
MIAMI, Fla. (September 11, 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 storm. EPA staff remain on the ground in Florida, and the agency is working closely alongside the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). EPA Assessment Team personnel will mobilize to Florida tomorrow after the storm has passed.
As of September 11, 2017, the following information is available:
REGIONAL OPERATIONS CENTERS
Region 2: About 77 personnel are currently involved in response efforts. Assessment teams have been deployed to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and are conducting operations.
• EPA has two teams on the ground in Puerto Rico and four teams deployed in the U.S Virgin Islands to conduct assessments. More teams are being deployed in the coming days.
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, the Florida State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Tallahassee, and Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami Dade counties.
• Region 4 Administrator Trey Glenn is in coordination with Florida, Alabama, and Georgia and is working with emergency response staff to determine regional assessment and response deployment activities.
• The EPA Region 4 Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center (AFC) is closed today due to current and projected adverse weather conditions; however, the Regional Emergency Operations Center (REOC) remains operational and staffed.
• Personnel support from EPA Region 5 are mobilizing to Atlanta today and will rally at the Region 4 Regional Readiness Center in Norcross, Georgia.
• The EPA Region 4 Mobile Command Post (MCP) will deploy to Tallahassee to support Florida SEOC operations and field operations, as needed.
• Region 4 Field Assessment Teams are meeting at the Regional Readiness Center today to plan for facility assessments. EPA Assessment Team personnel will mobilize to Florida on Tuesday, September 12, 2017.
• Florida ESF-10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response) personnel continue to assist state, tribal, and federal partners in preparing for response and mitigation actions. Primary focus has been in the following areas:
Ensuring that impacted drinking water and wastewater facilities are returned to service as quickly as possible. EPA is supporting this activity with FDEP and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
Developing and implementing debris management strategies and operations. EPA is working with FDEP, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), and the USACE to support their needs.
Alabama: The Alabama Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is currently at full operation. EPA Region 4 continues to maintain communication with the state to provide support as needed.
North Carolina: The North Carolina SEOC is currently operating at Level 4 activation. They are monitoring Irma’s path and EPA is maintaining communication with the state to determine if EPA assistance is needed.
South Carolina: The South Carolina SEOC is currently at full operation. They are monitoring Irma’s path. EPA is maintaining communication with the state to determine if EPA assistance is needed.
Mississippi: The Mississippi SEOC is currently operating at Level 4 activation. They are monitoring Irma’s path and 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 currently collaborating on a statewide order regarding National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for those facilities impacted by Irma. This action will help ports and other facilities get back into operation as quickly as possible.
• EPA issued a No Action Assurance today 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.
• 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 and bulk fuel terminals.
• 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 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
• As of today, EPA Region 2 has conducted post-hurricane assessments of seven Superfund sites and other facilities and found no significant damage. More assessments are being conducted today and the region expects to provide an update by tomorrow.
• Today, EPA is conducting assessments of regulated facilities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and the region expects to provide an update by tomorrow.
• EPA teams are focused on immediate threats from hazardous substance releases and oil spills, orphan hazardous containers, household hazardous waste, contaminated debris and drinking water/wastewater issues.
•Before Irma made landfall, EPA assessed 23 Superfund and oil sites in Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands to evaluate their vulnerabilities.
REGION 4 SUPERFUND SITES, OIL SITES AND OTHER FACILITIES
• EPA staff on the ground in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties are coordinating with local government partners to conduct initial assessments of Superfund sites in those counties. All Superfund sites in Florida will be assessed as soon as roads re-open and conditions allow.
• Local partners were able to make initial visual assessments of the three Superfund sites in Palm Beach County this morning – 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 phosphorus manufacturing facility in Hillsborough 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, the 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 the State of Florida. A list of Superfund sites in the state is available here.
For information and updates from EPA, visit: www.epa.gov/hurricane-irma