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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 3,400 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 in Division Bravo to maximize collection. Division Alpha resources will resume collection in Hancock County tomorrow.

Division B – Harrison County, Miss.

A total of six teams, 2 from Division Bravo and 4 from Division Alpha, continued to remove hazardous material unearthed during debris removal activities. Division Bravo Team 1 resumed hazardous waste removals at Brady Drive and continued east to Travia Street. Division Bravo Team 2 resumed their search for hazardous waste at Hackett Lane and continued west to Swanson Avenue. Two teams from Division Alpha swept areas in and around Pass Christian and the remaining two teams swept areas in and around the Biloxi area.

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

Team 1 recovered one 250-pound propane tank, one 30-gallon waste oil drum, and one 55-g drum in Pascagoula. A team recovered two 55-gallon drums full of oily debris in Pascagoula. The team also recovered approximately 200 small hazardous household waste (HHW) containers.

Public Outreach

The Region 4 Response Corps has distributed approximately 10,000 fliers to promote the upcoming HHW collection day in Jackson County October 29. Citizens will be allowed to drop off HHW at five locations in Jackson County: St Martin, Ocean Springs, Gulf Park Community, Gautier, and Pascagoula. In Hancock County teams continued distributing fliers with general HHW segregation information. ATSDR is working with the CIC to make relevant public health information available to communities.

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 10 previously assessed ASTs and transferred them to the Division A Collection Point. Teams pumped fuel from two tanks in Division A to prepare the ASTs for removal. An air over flight was conducted for the logistics of removing ASTs located in the bayous of southern Hancock County. In the process of surveying the known ASTs several new ASTs requiring removal were located. A total of approximately 90 tanks remain that require removal.

Historical Responses

Emergency Fuel Waiver for AL, FL, LA, MS




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