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EPA Releases Murphy Oil Sampling Data

Release Date: 12/02/2005
Contact Information:


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

(12/2/05) On Dec. 2, EPA posted additional Murphy Oil samples taken at residential and other properties near the oil spill at Murphy's Meraux Refinery in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. These most recent sample results were consistent with other samples taken. The primary contaminants detected in the new sediment samples that were above the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Risk Evaluation/Corrective Action Screening Standards for Soil were polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are commonly found in fuel oils and crude oil, diesel and oil range organic chemicals. The RECAP screening levels were intended to be protective levels based on long-term (i.e., 30-year) exposures to children and adults in a residential setting.

EPA recommends, in the short-term, that residents returning to the area should avoid direct contact with the crude oil contaminated sediments. These compounds can pose a skin irritation problem if they get onto bare or broken skin. Skin contact with crude oils for short periods may cause itchy, red, sore, or peeling skin.
To date, Murphy has collected 2834 sediment samples from 1613 residences. Of the 2834 sediment samples collected, US EPA has sent 293 split samples for separate analyses. US EPA has received, evaluated and has posted the results of 275 samples to date. US EPA will continue to post the results of these samples as they become available.

For more information on these results and EPA recommendations, visit: http://www.epa.gov/katrina/testresults/murphy/index.html .