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Response to Hurricane Katrina

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EPA has conducted more than 2,300 incident responses since deploying emergency response personnel following the destruction left by Hurricane Katrina along the MS and AL coastline. 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 the affected areas.

Assessment and Removal Team Activity

EPA is operating under three divisions that were formed to address Hancock (Division A), Harrison (Division B), and Jackson, MS and Mobile and Baldwin, AL (Division C) counties, which are the most affected areas along the coast. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is serving 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 during Hurricane Katrina.

Division A – Hancock County, Miss.

Teams continue to conduct removal activities in the Waveland and Diamondhead areas. Five 5-gallon Freon tanks, one 55-gallon drum, 10 1-gallon paint cans, six small paint cans, 20 various containers, a 5-gallon motor oil tank, 10 aerosol cans, 4 gas cans, one 10-gallon tank of welding material and a 10-gallon oxygen tank were recovered during operations.

Division B – Harrison County, Miss.

Three teams were deployed to observe debris removal operations and remove previously located items. Areas surveyed included D’Iberville, Biloxi, Gulfport, Long Beach, and Pass Christian ( Harrison County, Miss.). A rapid assessment team was also cued for response to calls and situations. One of the teams observed operations at a landfill.

Several teams conducted assessments along the streets of Biloxi and Gulfport looking for debris that may have been left behind by debris crews. The assessment led to the recovery of one 55-gallon poly drum, a 55-gallon steel drum, five 5-gallon propane tanks, nine 10-gallon propane tanks, one 500-gallon propane tank, a small gas can, three paint cans, a gas cylinder, two 5-gallon poly buckets and four oxygen cylinders. The team also recovered a 750-gallon tank from the beach.

Division C – Jackson County, Miss., and Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Ala.

A team conducted recovery operations of hazardous materials that were segregated from debris in debris staging areas. They visited four staging areas in the Pascagoula area and recovered propane cylinders, 55-gallon drums, gas cans, paint cans, and batteries. All items recovered were taken to the Division Collection Point.

Water Systems

An EPA mobile drinking water laboratory, stationed in Gulfport to assist the MS Department of Health with analysis of drinking water samples, was restarted. The lab has processed more than 425 drinking water samples and continues to analyze new samples each day.

A Water System Evaluation Team is scheduled to deploy today to assist FEMA in public assistance documentation work at drinking water and waste water facilities in Mississippi.

Air Monitoring

The Air Monitoring Support Team has collected 21 PM 2.5, 21 PM 10 and 21 asbestos samples. All Air data results will be coordinated with EPA’s Emergency Response Team. They have assessed several debris burn sites and obtained permission to sample at five of the larger sites that are near populated areas.

Sediment Sampling

A total of 23 samples were collected from several facilities in the Mississippi area. The Science and Ecosystem Support Division plans to collect eight samples from three other locations.

Historical Responses

Emergency Fuel Waiver for AL, FL, LA, MS



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