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News Brief: Murphy Oil Sampling Data Released

Release Date: 1/11/2006
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

Contact:  Eryn Witcher, 202-564-4355 /

     On Jan. 6, 2006, EPA posted 52 additional Murphy Oil samples taken at residential and other properties near the oil spill at Murphy's Meraux Refinery in St. Bernard Parish, La.  These most recent sample results were consistent with other samples taken.  The primary contaminants detected in the new sediment samples that were above the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Risk Evaluation/Corrective Action Screening Standards for Soil were polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are commonly found in fuel oils and crude oil, and diesel and oil range organic chemicals.  The screening levels are intended to be protective levels based on long-term (i.e., 30-year) exposures to children and adults in a residential setting.        

     EPA recommends, in the short-term, that residents returning to the area should avoid direct contact with the crude oil contaminated sediments.  These compounds can pose a skin irritation problem if they get onto bare or broken skin.  Skin contact with crude oils for short periods may cause itchy, red, sore, or peeling skin.

     To date, the facility has collected a total of 5,582 interior and exterior sediment samples from 3,242 residences.  Of these 5,582 sediment samples, EPA has collected 578 split samples for analysis at an off-site laboratory.  US EPA has received, evaluated and is posting the results of the first 516 samples.  US EPA will continue to post the results of these samples as they become available.          
     For more information on these results and EPA recommendations, visit: