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Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: Louisiana - Texas - EPA Response Update

Release Date: 10/4/2005
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

     Today, Baton Rouge Unified Command briefed Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock on EPA hurricane response activities in Louisiana. Following the briefing, Peacock toured hurricane damaged areas. Regional Administrator Greene provided an update at today's Congressional briefing at the Joint Federal Operations center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

     EPA and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality response teams continued to assess various facilities and railroad yards in Cameron, Calcasieu, Beauregard, and Jefferson Davis Parishes. A team performed radiation surveys at nine facilities and did not detect any readings above background levels. Another team conducted inspections at 37 facilities including wastewater treatment plants in Tangipahoa Parish. Teams conducted inspections at 58 underground storage tank facilities.

     EPA and Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals are investigating reports of disreputable water transportation companies in the New Orleans area. Reportedly, one or more water haulers are filling trucks with water from non-approved water sources and by-passing state/federal inspection of vehicles. The New Orleans Tourism and Hotel Association have been alerted to possible by-passing of the potable water delivery system in the area.

     EPA will continue sampling standing flood water and sediments. Flood waters samples were collected from the 9th Ward area. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports this area should be dry by Friday. Outfall and canal water sampling continues as part of our on-going evaluation of water quality.

     About 1,500 hazardous debris and orphaned containers were collected as part of the on-going Household Hazardous Waste collection program.  To date, about 43,000 containers have been separated from other debris for disposal. EPA and LDEQ have established Household hazardous waste collection programs and staging areas in three Louisiana Parishes. Hurricane-damaged materials are being collected curb-side in many areas. Also, drop-off locations have been established. New programs in four additional Parishes will begin as soon as drop-off locations and staging areas are approved by local officials.