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Hurricane Katrina: Louisiana - EPA Response Update

Release Date: 9/11/2005
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

     Water sampling is a high priority in EPA's response to Hurricane Katrina.  EPA and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality ( have posted the results of the first rounds of sampling.  The data has been reviewed and validated through a quality assurance process to ensure scientific accuracy.  

     To view the test results, visit  EPA and LDEQ continue to conduct flood water sampling for chemical and biological testing in Lake Pontchartrain and the greater New Orleans area.

     EPA and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals ( continue to assess drinking water systems.  More than 36 percent of drinking water systems are now operational.  More than 12 percent of drinking water systems are operational with boil water advisories.  

     Responders are assessing the area's wastewater facilities.  More than 79 percent of major municipal wastewater facilities are operational.  More than 15 percent of major industrial wastewater facilities are operational.  More than 43 percent of minor municipal facilities are operational.

     Sediment was sampled at 21 locations in Jefferson Parish yesterday and will continue today in the New Orleans area.

     EPA and state officials are assessing the quantity of housing structures, cars and boats that are currently submerged in flood water and will require disposal.  Contaminants of concern include lead-based paint, asbestos, household wastes and petroleum products.

     EPA and CDC are working together to identify potential hazards that workers may be exposed to in the flood area.

     LDEQ is monitoring ambient air quality using summa canisters.  An EPA Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA) unit will be in the field conducting real-time screening information in accordance with standard operations.

     DOE and LDEQ conducted fly-overs looking for sources of radiation, such as universities and hospitals, as identified by Los Alamos National Laboratory.

     EPA's joint field operations with state officials are ongoing.  The EPA and State of Louisiana Joint Incident Management Team is operating 24 hours a day at the emergency center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.