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Test Results

Summary Results Of Sediment Sampling Conducted By The Environmental Protection Agency In Response To Hurricanes Katrina And Rita (August 17, 2006)

Summary Assessment of the Results of Sampling of Localized Areas Identified For Focused Investigations Following Hurricane Katrina (March 2006)

Environmental Assessment Summary for Areas of Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard, and Plaquemines Parishes Flooded as a Result of Hurricane Katrina (December 6, 2005)

Summary of Sediment Testing from September 10 – November 27, 2005: Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (November 2005)

EPA's Enviromapper system provides test results from the areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita via interactive maps or data sets you can download. It includes:

This database presents the most complete data set available. For various reasons, EPA sometimes performs additional analyses on samples from a given day. When this occurs, the additional data will be provided as soon as it becomes available. Therefore, the database may contain more data than was previously displayed on the EPA Web site.
View test results in Enviromapper | Download data

Real-time air monitoring data and air screening data are not currently provided in Enviromapper, but are linked below.

Descriptions of Available Data

Murphy Oil Spill

On September 4, 2005, Murphy Oil USA, Inc. (Murphy) notified and requested assistance from US EPA concerning an oil spill at their Meraux Refinery in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.
View results | Download data | EPA's response, data evaluation, and recommendations

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Sediment and Soil

Sampling of Residual Sediment in Flood Impacted Areas

On February 6, 2006, EPA began a new phase of sediment sampling in the flood-impacted areas, targeted to public areas in the residential neighborhoods where people are returning to their homes. A systematic grid with points at a 200-foot interval was transposed over the flood-impacted areas. A sample team visited each point on the grid and noted the presence or absence of sediment. Samples were collected at only those grid points where sediment was found in sufficient quantities (i.e., greater than 0.5 centimeters thick).

Samples collected in this phase were analyzed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides/PCBs, herbicides, diesel and oil range organic chemicals and metals. Results of the samples collected are being compared to Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) Risk Evaluation/Corrective Action (RECAP) Management Option 1 Standards for residential soils and, for potential cancer-causing chemicals, concentrations that fall within USEPA's cancer risk range.
View results | Download data | Reports by Zip Code

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Focused Sampling of Flood Impacted Soil and Sediment

This more detailed sampling effort was conducted by EPA and LDEQ in flood-impacted residential areas where previous sampling found elevated concentrations of arsenic, lead or benzo(a)pyrene. The release of this report was a multi-agency effort that included the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH), and New Orleans Health Department (NOHD).

The goal of the sampling reflected in this report was to determine whether the elevated levels of these chemicals were isolated or whether they were representative of a larger area. To accomplish this goal, samples were collected and mixed together (i.e., composite samples) to characterize the average concentration of these chemicals around the original sampling locations. Unlike previous sampling rounds, these composite samples were not only of the sediment deposited by floodwaters, but also included samples of the underlying soil that existed prior to the Hurricane.
View results | Download data | EPA's data evaluation and recommendations | Daily reports: Feb. 16-22, 2006

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Sediment from Flood Water, including resampling, from September 10 - November 27, 2005

Testing of the sediment left behind by flood waters began on September 10, 2005. With the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), we revisited approximately 145 previous sediment sample locations where contaminant concentrations exceeded LDEQ and EPA criteria. We post results as they become available. No flood water or sediment sampling was performed on September 20-24, 2005 due to Hurricane Rita. Sediment from flood water is being defined as residuals deposited by receding flood waters which may include historical sediment from nearby water bodies, soil from yards, road and construction debris, and other material.
View results | Download data | Summary of sediment sampling from September 10-November 27 2005

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Soil Testing at Schools

EPA collected soil samples at schools in Louisiana. We compared the results of the soil samples to Louisiana’s Risk Evaluation/Corrective Action Program (RECAP) residential soil standards.
View results | Download data | Summary

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Playground Soil and Sediment Sampling in Louisiana

At the request of the New Orleans Health Department, USEPA and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) collected soil and sediment samples at eighteen playgrounds across the city and analyzed the samples for lead. Seventeen of the playgrounds were flooded as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Although Audubon Park was not flooded, it was sampled at the request of LDEQ. USEPA and LDEQ began collecting samples from these parks on July 5, and completed the sampling on July 12. The number of individual samples collected at each playground ranged from eleven samples at several of the smaller playgrounds up to twenty-seven samples at Audubon Park. The results of the samples were compared to LDEQ’s Risk Evaluation/Corrective Action Program (RECAP) Residential Screening Level of 400 mg/kg lead. The results have been provided to the New Orleans Health Department.
View results | Download data | Reports by ZIP Code

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Superfund National Priority List Sites

From September 29, 2005, through October 14, 2005, a team of EPA contractors collected samples at the National Priority List sites in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast of Texas to assess any potential impacts that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita may have had on remedies completed at those sites. EPA has received, evaluated and is posting validated analytical data for these sites as the data become available. EPA’s conclusions regarding the potential impact of the hurricanes on these sites are based on a comparison of post-hurricane data to past sample data collected during routine monitoring activities.

During the period from October 12 through October 14, 2005, EPA collected sediment, surface water and groundwater samples in the vicinity of nine National Priorities List (NPL) sites in Alabama and Mississippi to assess the potential impact that Hurricane Katrina may have had on those sites. EPA’s conclusions regarding the potential impact of the hurricane on these sites are based on a comparison of post-hurricane data to existing soil and sediment cleanup values defined for the site, or past sample data collected during remedial investigations or routine monitoring activities. In addition, the results were compared to EPA Region 9 Preliminary Remediation Goals (PRGs) and the Office of Water's 2004 National Recommended Water Quality Criteria (NRWQC) to determine if conditions at the sites might represent previously unrecognized risks to human health and the environment. EPA Region 9 PRGs (available at: https://www.epa.gov/region9/waste/sfund/prg/index.html) are risk-based concentrations based on long-term (i.e., 30-year) exposures to children and adults in a residential setting. The PRGs are intended to assist risk assessors and others in initial screening-level evaluations of environmental measurements. EPA Region 4 uses Region 9 PRGs as part of the risk evaluation process for both its remedial and removal programs. EPA Office of Water's 2004 NRWQC (available at: https://www.epa.gov/waterscience/criteria/wqcriteria.html ) are a compilation of surface water quality criteria for the protection of aquatic life and human health for approximately 150 pollutants.
View results | Download data | Summary | Information on the assessment of these sites

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Surface Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are coordinating an environmental impact assessment of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in coastal waters throughout the affected region. By integrating response activities conducted aboard the EPA’s OSV Bold, NOAA’s R/V Nancy Foster, FDA small boat teams and numerous field activities in the shallow nearshore and wetland environments, this effort will characterize the magnitude and extent of coastal contamination and ecological effects resulting from these unprecedented storms. Surface waters were tested in three legs: the mouth of the Mississippi River, Mississippi Sound, and Lake Ponchartrain.
View results | Download data | Summary

Water Quality Study of Bays in Coastal Mississippi: EPA's Region 4 Science & Ecosystem Support Division (SESD), in cooperation with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), conducted a water quality study in the rivers and bays along the Mississippi coast following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The study was completed during the period September 26-30, 2005. The study area encompassed major bay systems on the Mississippi coast including Bangs Lake, Bayou Casotte, the Pascagoula and West Pascagoula River systems, the Back Bay of Biloxi, St. Louis Bay, and the Pearl River. The objective of this study was to provide sediment and water quality data in each major bay system along the Mississippi Sound. Flow was also measured at the seaward boundary of each system for estimating both conventional and toxic pollutant loadings entering the Mississippi Sound at the time of the study. This study was not designed to identify specific pollutant sources within each system or provide definitive information on the potential long term effects of the hurricanes on human or ecological health. The results of this study may be used as the basis for future targeted water quality studies by MDEQ and/or the EPA.
View results | Download data | Summary

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Flood Water

Flood water data began to be collected on September 3, 2005. The available data is posted in the database as it becomes available except for flood water data from September 4 & 5, 2005. The location information for these sites was not sufficient to allow them to be displayed on a map. To access data from these days please click September 4 or September 5.
View results | Download data | Summary

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Damage from the hurricanes as well as associated cleanup and restoration activities may contribute to air pollution in the hurricane-affected areas. EPA began screening air quality in those areas on August 30, 2005 to provide an initial assessment of air quality. In early January 2006, we collected airborne data pertaining to the Paris Street landfill fire. Screening data

Real-time monitoring

In coordination with the states of Louisiana and Mississippi, EPA is restoring the air quality monitoring networks that were damaged or lost as a result of the storms. Real-time particle pollution sampling was brought back online on September 11, 2005 in New Orleans, and on September 15 and October 5, 2005 in Mississippi. Real-time monitoring data

Time-delayed sampling

Additional air sampling for several substances began the first week of October 2005:

This monitoring requires analysis of the air samples in a laboratory and therefore results in a lag between the date the sample was taken and the earliest date that EPA can report the results. Laboratory analysis results available as of July 12, 2006.

Air quality sampling results available after July 12th are on EPA's Air Quality System. Members of the public who are unfamiliar with this system may contact Virginia Ambrose (919-541-5454) for assistance in accessing these data.

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Gentilly Landfill

On November 5 and 6, 2005, USEPA collected samples from the surface water adjacent to the Old Gentilly Landfill in Orleans Parish to monitor landfill operations. The surface water is not used as a source of drinking water. However, of the trace amounts of pesticides, Volatile Organic Compounds, Diesel Range Organic compounds, and metals, detected in the samples, only Thallium slightly exceeded Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Risk Evaluation/Corrective Action Program (RECAP) levels for drinking water.
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Temporary Housing Locations

At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), EPA has taken soil samples at potential temporary resident housing locations. They will be used to help FEMA determine the suitability of these locations for temporary housing for residents. EPA has a mission assignment to sample up to 25 sites for FEMA, and will continue to sample locations as requested.
View results | Download data | Summary

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Hazardous Waste Sites in Mississippi

During the week of October 3, 2005, EPA collected soil and sediment samples near facilities in the affected areas in Mississippi to determine if flooding from the storm surge released hazardous constituents and materials. The facilities being investigated are located in the storm surge impacted portions of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson Counties in Mississippi. Soil and sediment samples were collected from RMP (Risk Management Plan), Tier II, TRI (Toxic Release Inventory) facilities and sites listed in EPA’s CERCLIS database which includes National Priority List (NPL) sites and sites being considered for the NPL. This investigation was requested by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and EPA's southeast U.S. regional office.
View results | Download data | Summary

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Naval Construction Battalion Center – Gulfport, Mississippi

The Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) facility is an active facility that was established in 1942 to support the operating units of the Naval Construction Force. It supports and prepares for all facets of the mobilization of construction forces. It is located in the western part of the City of Gulfport, Mississippi.

An area of the facility was used between 1968 and 1977 as a storage area for drums containing the herbicide Agent Orange, prior to being shipped to Vietnam. Due to the occasional spill and ruptured drum, dioxin had been released in the area and had migrated to a small wetland area. The wetland area was at 80% completion of cleanup when Katrina occurred.

Five sediment samples were collected from five locations in the wetland area. These samples were analyzed for dioxins/furans only. Three of the five sediment samples exceeded residential PRGs but fell within a risk range of 1 in 1,000,000 to 1 in 10,000 risk over background of an individual developing cancer over a lifetime of exposure to those concentrations, which EPA has found acceptable in other contexts. From a comparison with sampling conducted pre-hurricane Katrina these five sediment samples are within the range of levels detected prior to Hurricane Katrina.

At the request of Mississippi Department of Quality (MDEQ), four sediment samples were collected at four locations. These samples were analyzed for PCBs only. No PCBs were reported.

Based on these sampling results, EPA does not believe the site was impacted by Hurricane Katrina.
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