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EPA News Briefs for Sept. 14


WEBWIRE

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 -- Following are the most recent news briefs from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For more information on any of these subjects, call the listed press officer:

(1) Air Sampling Data Available On-Line

(2) EPA Releases Additional Flood Water Sampling Data

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(1) Air Sampling Data Available On-Line

Contact: Eryn Witcher, 202-564-4355 / witcher.eryn@epa.gov

In coordination with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, EPA’s airplane ASPECT (Airborne Spectral imagery of Environmental Contaminants Technology) has flown 15 flights to obtain environmental screening data.

These compounds, listed in the on-line table, were not found to be at levels exceeding OSHA standards with one exception (see Flight No. 14). In this instance, the detection was reported to EPA responders on the ground. The responders located the source, a 55-gallon drum containing 4 inches of Chloro Acetic Acid. The drum was secured by EPA response personnel.

To see the table of results, go to: http://www.epa.gov/katrina/testresults

ASPECT is an emergency response tool mounted in an aircraft that provides critical situational data to the responders on the ground. Standard products generated during an ASPECT flight mission include aerial photographs, infrared imagery, Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectral analyses, and standard format video. All qualitative and quantitative results generated from ASPECT are not validated and are used strictly for screening purposes.

All data produced through the use of the ASPECT is non- validated and is used by EPA and other agencies for screening purposes only to assess immediate environmental hazards. Information and data from ASPECT analyses are forwarded to ground level personnel who evaluate the data and request follow-up air monitoring, if warranted.

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(2) EPA Releases Additional Flood Water Sampling Data

Contact: Eryn Witcher, 202-564-4355 / witcher.eryn@epa.gov

The Environmental Protection Agency in coordination with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality today posted flood water sampling data for chemicals from Sept. 4 and 6, 2005. The data has been reviewed and validated through a quality assurance process to ensure scientific accuracy. Hexavalent chromium and arsenic, in addition to lead which was previously detected on September 3rd, were detected at levels which exceeded EPA drinking water standards. These compounds would pose a risk to children only if a child were to drink a liter of flood water a day. Long-term exposure (a year or longer) to arsenic would be required before health effects would be expected to occur. Thallium was detected at one sampling location and while levels are slightly elevated, they are 10 times lower than levels at which there would be a health effect. Given these results, EPA and CDC advise the public and emergency responders to avoid contact with flood water when possible. If contact occurs, EPA strongly advises the use of soap and water to clean the areas if available.

The Sept. 5 data is currently undergoing review and validation. The data will be released once this process is complete.

Flood water sampling data for biological pathogens from Sept. 6 through 10, 2005 have also been posted for public review. E. coli levels are still greatly elevated and remain much higher than EPA’s recommended levels for contact. The public and emergency responders should continue to avoid contact with flood water when possible. If contact occurs, EPA strongly advises the use of soap and water to clean areas if available.

EPA in coordination with federal, state and local agencies will continue to release data as it becomes available. To view the data, visit: http://www.epa.gov/katrina/testresults



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