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Greensburg, Kansas, Tornado Response

Greensburg Rebuilds
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Community input
Greensburg Arts Center
New Arts Center made from recycled materials

EPA Helps with Green Redevelopment

Greensburg Locator MapShortly after the tornado disaster, Governor Kathleen Sebelius stated her wish that Greensburg become the "the greenest city in the state," and dedicated Kansas resources to make it happen. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began their long-term recovery process and engaged EPA and other federal agencies for their support and planning expertise.

EPA Region 7 worked with the people of Greensburg, state and local officials, FEMA's recovery team, and other assisting agencies during a two-month process to create the green or sustainable section of the Long-Term Community Recovery Plan [PDF] (86 pp, 17.6 MB). FEMA finalized the plan August 15, 2007, and presented it to the community. EPA continues to be involved in green redevelopment in Greensburg.

Six projects were recommended for the recovery plan:

EPA also helped FEMA with several related projects, including a community design problem-solving roundtable or "charrette," which brought together volunteer architects and many Greensburg residents, and housing resource fairs in July and September. EPA experts offered information at the fairs about the Energy Star program, healthy indoor environments. The fairs attracted dozens of vendors, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations with tips on rebuilding homes in an energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly way.

For more information, please contact David Doyle, EPA Region 7, at (913) 551-7667 or doyle.david@epa.gov

Tornado's Aftermath
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Aerial photo of disaster
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EPA emergency responders

EPA Responders Deployed to Tornado Emergency

Severe storms with rain, hail, high winds and tornadoes moved through eight counties in southeastern Kansas during the evening of May 4, 2007. Greensburg in Kiowa County, Kan., with approximately 1,500 residents, was directly hit by an F5 tornado, on a scale of damage from zero to 5. EPA dispatched several on-scene coordinators (OSCs) to the scene with the response truck and mobile command post Saturday, May 5. Initial EPA activities included addressing fuel releases, chlorine cylinders, anhydrous ammonia tanks, propane tanks, and other hazardous materials. OSCs also began meeting with state and local officials, and began initial reconnaissance of the city and surrounding area.

On May 9, EPA Region 7 was tasked by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to remove oil, hazardous materials, household hazardous waste and white goods. EPA initiated curbside pickup of household hazardous waste items and white goods May 11. OSCs and EPA contractors are assisting Kansas Department of Health and Environment officials with identification and segregation of hazardous substances brought to the north landfill. EPA contractors have also assessed damaged transformer recovery locations and sampled sites for potential PCB contamination. EPA is collecting and reviewing aerial photos of areas outside the city to locate and respond to orphaned containers displaced by the tornado.

For more information about EPA's response to the Greensburg tornado, please contact Beckie Himes or Dianna Whitaker, EPA Region 7, toll-free at 1-800-223-0425.

Pre-tornado aerial photo of Greensburg, Kan. (1 page, 3.9 MB) [PDF]

Post-tornado aerial photo of Greensburg, Kan. (1 page, 3.4 MB) [PDF]

Diagram of tornado's path overlaid on aerial photo of Kiowa County, Kan. (1 page, 2.8 MB) [PDF]

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