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EPA Assists Virginia in Recovering Orphan Drums - More Than 200 Drums and Tanks Have Been Recovered

Release Date: 10/5/1999
Contact Information: Lena Kim, 215-814-3117 or Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

Lena Kim, 215-814-3117 or Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

FRANKLIN, Va. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is helping the Commonwealth of Virginia collect and dispose of "orphan" drums, tanks and containers of hazardous substances which were carried off by flood waters in Hurricane Floyd.

As part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hurricane Floyd response, and in partnership with the Virginia Department of Emergency Services and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, EPA scoured residential areas and waterways and retrieved more than 200 drums and tanks that washed up on embankments, streets, and even backyards.

The term "orphan" refers to containers whose owners cannot be identified by EPA. These drums and tanks may contain substances such as motor oil, industrial chemicals and chlorinated solvents.

According to EPA on-scene coordinators monitoring the cleanup, none of the containers were found to be leaking. The environmental implications of this large-scale debris won’t be known until the contents of all tanks and drums have been analyzed. The agency’s main concern is to ensure that people do not come into direct contact with any industrial strength chemicals or hazardous materials they may contain.

So far, Virginia and EPA officials have secured all missing containers that were carried away during the flooding. In cases where the owners have been identified, EPA has arranged for them to properly dispose of the drums. EPA’s mid-Atlantic region will dispose of any tanks and drums that cannot be identified.

Companies or individuals who lost containers during the flood should contact EPA at the Herman Survivors Building, College Avenue and Armory Road, Franklin, Va., or call (757) 562-8564 to identify and retrieve their containers. Hazardous waste pickup, including household hazardous waste, will continue throughout the week.