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Response to Hurricane Katrina

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EPA personnel assess a chemistry lab at a high school in Bay St. Louis, Miss. EPA has conducted more than 3,300 incident responses since deploying emergency response personnel following the destruction left by Hurricane Katrina along the Mississippi and Alabama 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, Mississippi Mobile and Baldwin, Alabama (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 .

Division Alpha resources were deployed to Division Bravo to assist in the collection of household hazardous waste (HHW).

Division Alpha resources deployed in Harrison County swept the areas east and west of Highway 49. Team 1 (Alpha) collected 2,096 containers from a hardware store; Team 2 (Alpha) collected 126 items in the D’Iberville area; Team 3 (Alpha) collected 592 items in the Biloxi area; and Team 4 (Alpha) collected 337 items from the Pass Christian area.

Division B – Harrison County, Miss.

Division Bravo Team 1 resumed their sweep of the eastern grid system at Debuys Road, continuing east while Team 2 resumed their sweep of the western grid system. Multiple containers were collected

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

Team 1 visited Army Corps of Engineers debris sites in Jackson County recovering segregated hazardous materials. The team also assessed neighborhoods in Pascagoula for HHW. The team recovered one 500-gallon tank from the John Ward debris staging area, numerous cylinders and full 55-gallon drums, and approximately 20 paint cans in Pascagoula.

Public Outreach

The Region 4 Response Corps continued to distribute fliers for the upcoming household hazardous waste collection day in Jackson County on October 29. Citizens will be allowed to drop off HHW at five locations in Jackson County. To date the team has distributed approximately 6,000 fliers. The team coordinated with state officials regarding HHW collection in Harrison and Hancock Counties.

Air Monitoring

The Air Monitoring Support Team is collecting PM 2.5, PM 10, with metals analysis and asbestos at three permanent sampling sites in Pascagoula, Gulfport and Stennis Air Bases. Additionally, the VOC, SVOC, carbonyl, and hexavalent chromium samplers are being collected at these sites.

The team is also operating three sites near larger burn area. They are sampling for PM 2.5, PM 10 and asbestos. The team has collected a total of 84 PM 2.5, 84 PM 10 and 55 asbestos sample, along with 23 VOC, 23 SVOC, 23 carbonyls and 23 hexavalent chromium samples. All Air data results will be coordinated with EPA’s Emergency Response Team.

Water Systems

An EPA mobile drinking water laboratory, stationed in Gulfport has processed more than 1,323 drinking water samples and continues to analyze new samples each day.

The Waste Water Treatment situation continues to improve. In Mississippi, the Delisle Waste Water Treatment Plant is now operating normally and East Biloxi is still operating primary treatment only. The state of Alabama reported that Dauphin Island's Wastewater Treatment plant is now operating at limited capacity. This means that all municipal wastewater treatment facilities in Alabama and Mississippi are now considered to be operational.

AST Branch

The AST Branch recovered 20 previously assessed ASTs and transferred them to the Division A Collection Point. A total of 88 tanks remain that require removal.

Historical Responses

Emergency Fuel Waiver for AL, FL, LA, MS




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