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Water and Sediment Sampling Results Released - Sediment Data for 9/26/05

Release Date: 10/06/2005
Contact Information:


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

(Washington, D.C.-October 6, 2005) EPA, in coordination with Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, collected water and sediment samples from multiple locations across the New Orleans metropolitan area between September 26-30, 2005.

Tests results for sediment samples taken 9/26/05 indicate the continued presence of petroleum products. Lead concentrations were greater than ATSDR/CDC health guidance values for three samples assuming the sediment was ingested. EPA and ATSDR/CDC conclude that exposures at these levels to emergency responders are not expected to cause adverse health effects as long as the proper protective equipment is worn such as gloves and safety glasses. Volatile, and semivolatile organic compounds, including polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), as well as pesticides and heavy metals including antimony, arsenic, and chromium, were found, but at levels below what ATSDR/CDC considers to be immediately hazardous to human health. Bacterial contamination as expected from sewage contamination was also detected. EPA and ATSDR/CDC recommend avoiding all contact with sediment deposited by the flood water, where possible, due to potential concerns associated with long-term skin contact. See: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/index.asp for specific guidance for workers and returning residents.