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Response to Hurricane Katrina

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Hurricane Recovery

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EPA has reorganized its response structure in MS and AL based on the most affected counties. Three divisions were formed to address Hancock (Division A), Harrison (Division B), and Jackson, MS and Mobile and Baldwin, AL (Division C) counties. The US Coast Guard will serve as liaison between EPA and the three divisions. Coastal MS experienced storm surge flooding of 18 to 22 feet above normal tide levels and significant rainfall amounts. In response to this event, more than 353 incident responses have been conducted by EPA and the US Coast Guard since the beginning of EPA’s involvement following the destruction left by Hurricane Katrina along the MS and AL coastline. Of those, 191 were closed due to no further action required or a removal action occurred. An incident response is defined as an investigation of a National Response Center Report, contacting facilities, and reporting hazmat debris while conducting land or water assessment in affected areas.

A total of 240 personnel, which includes personnel from EPA, US Coast Guard, EPA and US Coast Guard contractors, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, are assisting with environmental and hazardous waste issues in response to Hurricane Katrina in MS and AL.

Assessment and Removal Team Activity

EPA, ADEM and USCG overflights of the Mobile Bay area and the MS coast have helped to log locations of barges, boats, tanks and debris fields for further water assessment.

Total debris recovered as part of EPA operations in MS and AL includes 729 drums, 136 tanks, 385 cylinders, 17 fuel cells, 1472 other containers and 718,216 gallons of fuel removed.

Division A-Hancock County, MS

Assessments were performed in the Bay St. Louis area locating and marking tanks and drums. An EPA assessment team also responded to a Diesel fuel spill at NASA Stennis Airport and met with a MDEQ representative. A FEMA mobile 12,000-gallon tank was delivered to the Army Ammunition Plant Tuesday, September 13, 2005 and began leaking. The local Fire Department created a trench and soil berm around the leak. EPA confirmed that approximately 700 gallons breached the containment basin and reached the ground surface. About four inches of product remain in the metal containment basin surrounding the tank. EPA, MDEQ, FEMA, and a Stennis representative met again to coordinate the clean-up. FEMA will notify MDEQ and EPA on final plans.

Removal operations continued in the Bay St. Louis area. The teams have moved numerous containers to the division collection point including propane tanks, oxygen and other gas cylinders, paint cans, and herbicide containers.

The team is monitoring the removal of shrimp boats from the Port Bienville Industrial Park railroad tracks. Removal operations are on hold until a plan is established to remove fuel from vessels.

Division A Collection Point

The collection point continues to receive and segregate drums. An area for hazard categorization and analysis also has been setup. Debris brought into the collection point yesterday includes: 82 55-gallon drums, One overpack, 34 55-gallon drums, 10 various sized tanks, 32 pressurized cylinders, 226 small containers (5-gallons or less), ten (10) 250-gallon LP tanks, 12 LP cylinders, one (1) can of Freon, and one (1) loose pack.

Division B-Harrison County, MS

Teams continued to search the area west of Long Beach Road. During the assessment the teams discovered one small trailer, two 55-gallon drums, eight compressed gas cylinders, one 250-gallon AST, eight 5-gallon buckets, seven batteries, and 50 small containers.

The team had one 20,000-gallon tank moved to collection area. Crews performed recovery operations in Biloxi area. During assessment of the area, three 1,000-gallon tanks, one 5,000-gallon tank, 10 compressed gas cylinders, 20 5-gallon buckets and numerous small containers were discovered and marked for recovered.

The above ground storage tanks at Munroe Petroleum terminal continued to be drained. ASTs drained using gravity feed until product flow stopped. Approximately 16,129 barrels of diesel have been removed and 919 barrels of gasoline have been removed so far.

Teams continued assessment and removal operations in the D’Iberville area, locating 12 compressed gas cylinders, 50 random containers, 4 55-gallon drums, 20 propane tanks, and multiple small containers. A 20,000-gallon tank was recovered and moved to the collection point.

Division B Collection Point

The collection point continues to receive and segregate drums. Items received at the site include: three drums of organic peroxide which were stored at a controlled temperature, Two 55-gallon drums, seven empty 55-gallon drums, three full poly 55-gallon drums, six empty poly 55-gallon drums, three various sized tanks, eight fire extinguishers, eight car batteries, ten (10) full gas cans, 22 empty gas cans, 221 small containers (5-gallons or less), 66 propane tanks, four freon tanks, 21 various sized cylinders, and 131 5-gallon pails

Division C-Jackson County, MS and Baldwin and Mobile Counties, AL

Teams performed oversight for the removal of fuel from an above ground storage tank in Mobile Bay near I-10. The product was completely removed and the tank is now ready for removal. A removal action was completed at Plains Marine. Also, assessment and recovery operations were performed in Baldwin County along the Mobile Bay from Weeks Bay north to Highway 98. Approximately 15 5-gallon containers, 34 1-gallon containers, one 55-gallon drum, two small containers of Freon, nine small containers, eight small propane canisters, and one gas can were recovered and staged at Shell Belt Road Collection Point.

An assessment team concentrated their efforts along Hwy 57. The team discovered two 200-gallon propane canisters. The team continued assessing areas in the Pascagoula and Ocean Springs. Hazardous materials weren’t found at the Fish and Wildlife Service at Gopher and Tortoise habitat.

Assessment continued at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory area for hazardous materials. The team continued the inventory of chemicals stored in the laboratories. A mobile laboratory was established at the site. Wastewater was pumped from laboratory areas to gain access to the labs. The area around the laboratory also was surveyed for hazardous materials. The packing of laboratory materials is 50% complete.

Assessments are being performed Gautier area. Assessment activities will continue during tomorrow’s operational period.

Teams performed boat operations in the Mobile Bay area to search for above ground storage tanks identified during aerial assessments. Oversight was performed for the pumping of a 1,800-gallon tank in the Mobile River.

Facilities Group

Three facility inspection teams continued site visits in the Gulf Coast area. The inspection teams plan to complete inspections by September 16, 2005.

Vessel Group

The vessels group continued conducting assessment of vessels in the area. Teams have assessed 79 out of 190 vessels.

Division C Collection Point

The collection point continues to receive and segregate drums. Debris staged at the site include: 70 55-gallon drums, one overpack, 27 empty 55-gallon drums, six various sized tanks, 21 various sized cylinders, and 145 small containers (5-gallons or less).

Water Systems Update

A total of one drinking water system in AL and 243 in MS remain on boil water notices. 71 systems in AL and 1,233 systems in MS are operational.

Wastewater systems that continue to be affected in Alabama counties include: Baldwin and Mobile. Wastewater systems that continue to be affected in Mississippi counties include: Attala, Copiah, Covington, Forest, George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lamar, Lauderdale, Marion, Newton, Pearl River, Perry, Simpson, Smith, Stone, Walthall, and Wayne.

Historical Responses

Emergency Fuel Waiver for AL, FL, LA, MS

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