EPA teams finish work in River Parishes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Fact sheets on mold, hazardous waste and impure water available


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – The U.S. Environment Protection Agency community outreach teams traveled to the River Parishes to inform people who will be traveling home soon to New Orleans and the surrounding affected areas of potential environmental hazards of the air, water and soil.

The teams have worked closely with local officials, charities, the American Red Cross, churches, schools, disaster recovery centers and FEMA centers, and have handed out close to $250,000 fact sheets and flyers with information concerning re-entry, mold and drinking water safety to name a few, according to the EPA

The community outreach teams are also advising returning residents on cleanup activities involving leaking natural gas lines, carbon monoxide poisoning, toxic fumes, airborne asbestos, hazardous waste and mold.

The EPA has dispatched more than 1,200 staff and contractors to address environmental damages. Thirty of those staff are community involvement coordinators, according to the EPA.

The Community Involvement Supervisor Marianne Deppman said the teams have gone to around 25 parishes and continue to travel and distribute information to communities.

“Our main focus is to inform the communities about health hazards, especially with hazardous waste, mold and drinking water,” she said.

“We have an established trained staff working with the different community leaders to make sure we cover all areas.”

Deppman said copies of the fact sheets can be picked up at local FEMA centers, Post Offices and “anywhere people will be traveling through,” she said. The facts are also outlined on the EPA’s website at www.epa.gov.

“We have over 1,000 people here helping from all over the nation,” she said. “We will be here until we get the job done.”