After Katrina: Post-hurricane environmental details emerge, water plants restarted

A Shreveport expert caught in New Orleans works to get water and wastewater treatment services up and running. Officials indicate two thirds of SE Louisiana water treatment plants were now operational. As the Port of New Orleans prepares to reopen, aid shipments of water treatment equipment arrive in region from Holland and South Africa. President names veteran firefighter as new FEMA director and acknowledges responsibility for failures in federal response...

TULSA, OK, Sept. 13, 2005 -- News reports began to offer more detail on the breadth of the environmental problems in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina (see: "Tainted Water: New Orleans is soaking in a toxic, stagnant stew of chemicals, sewage and lead") as the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality released its "Hurricane Katrina Surface Water Monitoring Plan".

Brown & Caldwell's Water News e-newsletter provided the link to the following story at the Shreveport Times: "Displaced official in Shreveport helps restore water service in New Orleans".

Meanwhile, in breaking news, the New Orlean's Times-Picayune reported that the Port of New Orleans is preparing to reopen and Baton Rouge, La., is being used as a staging area for a hundred tractor trailer rigs "capable of hauling 6,800 gallons each" caravanning loads of water jugs to the city.

From the Biloxi Sun Herald, there were reports that "nearly two-thirds of southeastern Louisiana's water treatment plants are up and running." It also reported that initial EPA assessments showed that southern Mississippi factories escaped significant damage from Hurricane Katrina.

The Mobile Register reported that "government policies contribute to Katrina disaster", with its sister paper in Birmingham covering progress in repairing the Talladega water system.

In other news, FEMA fire administrator David Paulison, a veteran firefighter with 30 years experience, was lauded as President Bush named him to replace the agency's director, Michael Brown, who resigned Monday. His resignation followed being relieved of command of relief efforts Friday under extreme criticism for the delayed federal response in New Orleans where tens of thousands of people, largely less affluent African Americans, were left for days in a state of desperation and lawlessness awaiting transport out of the city as floodwaters rose. Bush, today, acknowledged "responsibility" for any failures in the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina, which he said exposed "serious problems" at all levels of government.

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For the latest related water & wastewater industry news, see the following:

Hurricane victims in Gulf Coast will soon receive clean water from water treatment systems donated by Zenon and Maytag -- OAKVILLE, ON, Sept. 13 -- Now that the storm has passed and the levee breaks corrected, the millions of gallons of stagnant, bacteria-laden flood water remain the major challenge facing New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Zenon Environmental is shipping technology to the area that will help New Orleans and surrounding areas get a handle on that problem, too. The Canadian company and Maytag are donating water filtration systems to aid in relief efforts in affected areas in Mississippi and Louisiana. Zenon has already sent 40 of its Homespring central water filtration systems to Louisiana. Maytag, Zenon's distributor in North America, has agreed to match the donation and will soon be sending an additional shipment of 40 units...

Dutch water experts and water pumps arrive in United States -- WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 13, 2005 -- A team of five Dutch experts from the Directorate General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat) and three mobile water pumps arrived in New Orleans to help pump the flood waters from the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. The Dutch experts, working under the direction and in close cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will prioritize the needs of the Corps of Engineers and place the pumps where needed. The Dutch experts will also offer assistance on fixing damaged pumps....

Katrina damages Tetra Technologies plant -- TIGER PASS, LA, Sept. 12, 2005 -- According to the Associated Press, Tetra Technologies Inc., said Hurricane Katrina damaged some of its Louisiana operations, and much of its oil and gas production remains suspended. Tetra said its Venice fluids facility sustained "significant structural damage," but its Fourchon facility had only minor damage. The company said it is making deliveries to its Gulf of Mexico fluids customers from other Texas-based facilities. The company's only out-of-service equipment is the Southern Hercules, which the storm beached near Tiger Pass, La. Tetra hasn't restarted much of its oil and gas production, which was shut in before the hurricane hit Monday, primarily due to pipeline closures by other companies...

Water Purifier Arrives from South Africa to Mississippi Gulf Coast; Manufacturer Sud-Chemie and UPS Join Forces to Complete Global Delivery -- GULFPORT, MS, Sept. 12, 2005 -- At the Center for Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport, Miss., National Guard officials have been worried about the Gulf Coast's citizens. Safe water for drinking, bathing, and cooking is in short supply throughout the area. To the rescue: Sud-Chemie, a global chemical catalyst manufacturing company with a line of water-treatment products, and global delivery giant UPS. Together, they shipped a donated water purifier 10,000 miles from Johannesburg, South Africa, by plane to Atlanta and then trucked on to Gulfport. Next Stop: a temporary hospital operated by the Air National Guard in Bay St. Louis near Waveland, Miss. The purifier was the only one that National Guard officials have been able to source and receive so far, said Major James Proctor in Jackson, Miss...

Cytec Gulf Coast Plants Restarting Operations -- WEST PATERSON, NJ, Sept. 9, 2005 -- Cytec Industries Inc. has resumed full operations at its Cytec Performance Specialties' facility in Mobile, Ala. Earlier in the week, employees completed repairs resulting from wind damage from Hurricane Katrina. The Mobile plant is receiving raw materials and is shipping products to meet customer requirements. Meanwhile, the Cytec Building Block Chemicals' Fortier plant, west of New Orleans, Louisiana, is engaged in an orderly restoration of operations as each unit is assessed for damage and repairs are completed...

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Earlier "After Katrina" reports and related company news dating to Aug. 31, are available at: After Katrina: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers moves forward in disaster recovery efforts (Sept. 12, 2005) -- As FEMA chief resigns, Corps details breadth of recovery efforts to date. With over $2.9 billion in missions active in support of relief efforts, it's working with local, state and federal partners to not only drain New Orleans but assist in recovery across the Gulf. It's expected the city will be fully drained by mid-October. More concerns were expressed on the "toxic stew" being drained from the city into Lake Pontchartrain...

If you would like to assist financially, to contribute directly through the American Red Cross and for the latest news on Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, see: www.redcross.org/news/.

The latest government agency information on Hurricane Katrina response can be found at:
-- USEPA (including results of ongoing water quality testing), see: www.epa.gov/katrina/
-- U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/
-- U.S. Geological Survey (with before and after photos of the hurricane's devastation along the Gulf Coast): http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/hurricanes/katrina/
-- Department of Homeland Security: www.dhs.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/katrina.htm
-- FirstGov, the U.S. Government's official website (English/Spanish): www.firstgov.gov

Top photo courtesy of FEMA website: http://www.fema.gov/press/2005/katrinarecovery.shtm.

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