Traveling Through a Historic Storm to Expand EPA Onsite Analytical Capacity During an Emergency

Hurricane Harvey began its historic assault on the Gulf Coast region in late August 2017. While the storm was still slowly churning across Texas and Louisiana, EPA Region 6 requested analytical support from the mobile laboratory units CSS operates for EPA.  We mobilized two analytical units from Castle Rock, CO towards the requested destination of Corpus Christi, TX.  However, EPA’s orders changed over the course of the next day in response to newly emerging needs.  As a result, two CSS chemists flew to Corpus Christi, then drove more than five hours through heavy rain to San Antonio and then to the Region 6 laboratory in Houston before finally meeting up with the redirected mobile laboratory units.  By the following day, the units were ready to receive and analyze samples, handling a total of 67 water samples and 1 soil sludge matrix from 16 different sites over a two-week period. Preliminary results were submitted to EPA within 48 hours, helping the Agency protect the affected communities from volatile and semi-volatile contaminants and speed cleanup efforts.

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