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EPA transfers household hazardous waste collection to Corps of Engineers

Release Date: 11/15/2006
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

(New Orleans, Louisiana – November 15, 2006) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is transferring hazardous waste collection site management in Louisiana as part of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita recovery operations to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today.

Consistent with previous work efforts, EPA and the Corps will maintain high levels of collaboration and communication for the planning and execution of this work for conformance with applicable federal, state and local requirements.

The average person will not see any changes to the disposal process, according to EPA Incident Commander Nancy Jones. “The Corps has already been collecting household hazardous waste and e-waste curbside,” Jones said. “The only difference is that the Corps will be running the collection site in Orleans and arranging the transportation and disposal of the hazardous waste instead of EPA.” Residents and volunteer groups should continue separating household hazardous waste and e-waste and leaving it curbside.

Specifically, the Corps will collect, stage and dispose of household hazardous waste collected from properties demolished in Orleans Parish, and stage and dispose of household hazardous waste from St. Bernard Parish. EPA will continue to collect the household hazardous waste in St. Bernard Parish, oversee landfill management and home demolitions, and conduct follow-up sediment and air sampling as needed. Additionally, EPA will ensure the sound operation of waste water facilities, and monitor the ongoing Murphy Oil spill cleanup.

The new agreement comes at a time when most of the remaining hazardous waste in the area is inside homes that need to be demolished. Given extreme resource challenges with highly variable work loads, the consolidation of the missions increases the efficiency of the operation as well as reduces the cost to taxpayers.

The size and scope of this response is unprecedented. Both the Corps and EPA began curbside collection of household hazardous waste shortly after Hurricane Katrina’s landfall. More than four million containers, cylinders and drums and more than 8,000 tons of hazardous debris have been collected from this cooperative effort. While household hazardous waste collection is complete in most Louisiana parishes, additional work is needed in Orleans and St. Bernard parishes. Progress reports for the parishes affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are available at www.epa.gov/region6/katrina/parishes.htm

EPA’s Hurricane Response Public Information Office is available to provide information on a variety of hurricane-related environmental issues. Contact the office at (504) 736-7731, or send an e-mail to R6IMT_InformationOfficer@epa.gov.

Individuals may report hazardous materials at 1-800-401-1327. More information about EPA’s response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita may be found at www.epa.gov/katrina. More information about the Corps response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita may be found at http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/hps/.

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