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Fact Sheet

May 2011

Limited Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway Flood Surface Water Sampling


In response to the flooding that occurred in the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway, the U.S. EPA will conduct surface water sampling to identify the potential presence of contamination in the floodwater.  These sampling results will aid in identifying potential risks to people and emergency response workers who may be in contact with the floodwater.


Due to high water levels on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers which caused flooding conditions in southern Missouri, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began preparations to activate the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway in early April. 

An On-Scene Coordinator was deployed on April 24 as a liaison to the Missouri State Emergency Operations Center in Jefferson City, Mo., where EPA coordinated activities with state response organizations.

EPA involvement in the floodway began on April 27 when three EPA Region 7 OSCs deployed to the Sikeston, Mo., Multi-Agency Coordination Center (MACC) where they worked with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and bulk fuel suppliers to contact farm residents in the floodway and remove threatened petroleum and potentially hazardous materials prior to opening the floodway. 


The surface water sampling will begin in the Birds Point floodway on Tuesday, May 24, 2011. 

The surface water samples will be analyzed for organophosphorus pesticides, triazine herbicides, total metals (including aluminum), perchlorate, total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH)-gasoline range organics (GRO), TPH-diesel range orgranics (DRO) and coliform bacteria.

EPA scientists established the limited floodway sampling plan based on chemicals from explosives used to activate the floodway, the rural agricultural characteristics of the area, presence of a confined animal feeding operation and information that not all petroleum products were removed from the floodway.

Water sampling is planned near the entrance to the floodway, the two exits from the floodway, and water inside the floodway.  EPA has closely coordinated environmental efforts with Missouri and federal emergency response and environmental agencies since mid-April.


Questions or requests for information can be submitted to:

David Bryan
Public Affairs Specialist
EPA Region 7
901 N. Fifth St.
Kansas City, KS 66101
Phone: (913) 551-7433
Email: bryan.david@epa.gov

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