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Hurricane Katrina: Louisiana - EPA Response Update

Release Date: 9/12/2005
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 biological and chemical 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 200 drinking water systems are now operational.  More than 120 drinking water systems are operational with boil water advisories.  

     Responders are assessing the area's wastewater facilities.  More than 81 percent of major municipal wastewater facilities are operational.  More than 17 percent of major industrial wastewater facilities are operational.  More than 43 percent of minor municipal facilities are operational.

     EPA and contractors are collecting household hazardous waste and orphan containers in Mandeville and Slidell.

     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 conducted air quality monitoring in the French Quarter and at the United States Coast Guard Base on Lake Pontchartrain.

     DOE and LDEQ conducted fly-overs looking for sources of radiation, such as universities and hospitals, as identified by Los Alamos National Laboratory.  DOE's fly-overs revealed that the fingerprint of radiation matched what was expected based on known radiological sources prior to Hurricane Katrina.  LDEQ is continuing the assessment on the ground using hand-held radiological detection equipment.

     The United States Coast Guard responded to approximately 15 oil spills.

     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.