EPA works to secure toxic sites in Hurricane Irma’s path

MIAMI — Dozens of personnel from the Environmental Safety Company labored to safe a few of the nation’s most contaminated poisonous waste websites as Hurricane Irma bore down on Florida.

The company stated its staff evacuated personnel, secured gear and safeguarded hazardous supplies in anticipation of storm surges and heavy rains.

The Related Press surveyed six of the fifty four Superfund websites in Florida earlier than Irma’s arrival, throughout Miami in low-mendacity, flood-susceptible areas. There was no obvious work happening on the websites AP visited this previous week. The EPA stated that if there was no exercise, a website ought to be thought-about secured however can be intently monitored. The websites have been in numerous levels of federally directed, lengthy-time period cleanup efforts.

On the Miami-Dade Emergency Operations Middle on Saturday, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio stated the EPA staff he’s spoken with appear “usually constructive” concerning the prospects for poisonous websites remaining safe within the coming hurricane. However “they will’t assure it one hundred pc,” he informed AP.

“EPA feels they received a deal with on it.” he stated. “They assume that the danger is actual however definitely not as extreme as another locations. To not reduce it — it’s one thing to consider.”

AP wasn’t capable of absolutely consider every website’s readiness for the hurricane.

“If any website within the path of the storm is discovered to pose a direct menace to close by populations, EPA will instantly alert and work with state and native officers and inform the general public — after which take any applicable steps to deal with the menace,” EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman stated Friday. “Thus far no websites have risen to this degree that we’re conscious of.”

A danger evaluation by EPA concluded in 2012 that flooding at such websites in South Florida might pose a danger to public well being by spreading contaminated soil and groundwater. Flooding might disturb harmful pollution and wash it onto close by property or contaminate groundwater, together with private wells, stated Elizabeth “Betsy” Southerland, who retired final month as director of science and know-how in EPA’s Workplace of Water after 30 years on the company.

“The company must shortly reply with cautious monitoring after the storm,” stated Southerland.

A current evaluation for the Authorities Accountability Workplace by two researchers at American College discovered that a storm surge in South Florida of simply 1 to four ft might inundate the half-dozen websites…

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