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EPA Posts Sampling Data from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita-EPA Releases Murphy Oil Sampling Data

Release Date: 11/22/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Eryn Witcher, 202-564-4355 /

(11/22/05) On Nov. 21 EPA posted results from 102 more Murphy Oil samples taken at residential and other properties near the oil spill at Murphy's Meraux Refinery in St. Bernard Parish, La. These 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, diesel and oil range organic chemicals. The screening level risk evaluation were 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.

Thus far Murphy has collected 2448 sediment samples from 1390 residences. Of the 2448 sediment samples collected, US EPA has sent 249 split samples for separate analyses. One hundred ninety-four samples are now posted. The results of these samples will be posted as they become available.

For more information on these results and EPA recommendations, visit: