EPA Responds To Hurricane Katrina

As homeowners, as well as business and industry officials, return to their homes and facilities, they face massive cleanup effort in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. According to some risk analysts, the storm could cost insurers $26 billion, making Hurricane Katrina the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

EPA will assist residents in Louisiana Mississippi, Alabama and Florida deal with the impacts of the hurricane. EPA is responsible for coordinating work to address oil and chemical spills in the area, and will deploy additional response members to help ensure measures to protect public health and the environment are quickly taken. In the wake of a natural disaster, EPA assists state and local authorities in conducting aerial and ground surveillance to evaluate potential problems involving oil and hazardous chemicals.

Industries and businesses that encounter spills or discharges in the Hurricane Katrina's aftermath should contact the the National Response Center immediately at (800) 424-8802. The center is integral to these facilities' long-established procedures in preparedness and planning for natural disasters like hurricanes. The center supplies EPA's response personnel with incident reports of oil discharges and chemical releases. This information helps EPA determine the Agency's next steps in responding to the natural disaster. The information from the Center's reports, coupled with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Rapid Needs Assessment, will help EPA ensure the protection of public health and the environment. EPA also coordinates with state and local agencies to support the affected communities.

As of Aug. 29, Florida has been the only state to send a formal request to EPA for assistance in managing fuel supplies in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.

This article originally appeared in the 08/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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