Cleanup After Hurricane Katrina: Environmental Considerations [Updated May 3, 2006] [open pdf - 221KB]
"Local, state, and federal responders face numerous cleanup challenges associated with Hurricane Katrina. In Mississippi, Alabama, and parts of Louisiana, much of the focus has been on restoring infrastructure and managing debris and waste. In New Orleans, where most damage was due to floodwaters, the immediate tasks were 'unwatering' and evaluation of potential risks from contaminated water, sediment, and air. As floodwaters receded, debris management and infrastructure repair began. Monitoring and analysis of air, water, and residual sediment and soil continues to inform decisions about whether neighborhoods are safe for returning residents. Local authorities, with assistance from federal agencies, have worked to determine how and where disaster-related wastes would be gathered, separated, and disposed. This report provides an overview of the immediate and intermediate cleanup tasks and the federal role supporting these tasks. State, county, and local municipalities have jurisdiction with regard to cleanup after any natural catastrophe. However, because the President issued a major disaster declaration, at the governors' requests, under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act in response to Hurricane Katrina, federal agencies have been broadly authorized to provide assistance."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33115