There are 54 National Priority Listed Superfund sites in the impacted area. Some of them have been closed and corrected, some of them are still active, and some of those sites may have been compromised.

—Stephen Johnson

available on the EPA website in the near future.

An ongoing challenge is the disposal of debris, ranging from hazardous to vegetative waste and everything in between—from construction and demolition debris to white goods such as automobiles, appliances, and the like. Currently, the Army Corps of Engineers in Louisiana is crushing and processing about 100 tons of steel a day. EPA is encouraging recycling efforts because steel is expensive and recycling is a good way of reducing the impact on landfills.


First, EPA strove to remain committed to sound science and cut through the bureaucratic red tape that could have slowed its response. This approach has served the agency well and, more importantly, has helped in the providing, collecting, analyzing, and characterizing of environmental samples. The samples were put through a rigorous and vigorous analysis and quality control process, making sound science a priority in the midst of a crisis.

Second, EPA was committed to releasing the sampling information to decision makers and the public as soon as it was verified. EPA worked closely with federal, state, and local partners to ensure that they had the most accurate and updated information.

Third, EPA has carried out multiple outreach efforts in the form of advisories and announcements on post-Katrina issues. The agency used all means of communication, including TV appearances, radio announcements, public service announcements, press conferences, press releases, and safety advisories, and it posted information on its website using a new tool called Enviromapper, which combines interactive maps and aerial photography in order to display the test results from specific floodwater and sediment sampling sites in Louisiana. EPA’s commitment to communicate effectively was met, and the decision makers, the public, and the affected people could make informed decisions on the basis of the information provided by the agency.


Despite the tremendous efforts, a lot remains to be done. Throughout the fall, infrastructure issues were still a concern, including the remaining wastewater treatment systems and water treatment systems that need to be brought into full operation. The amount of debris across the impacted areas is still a major issue that is not going to be fixed or completed in the next days, weeks, or months.

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