According to EDR, the leading provider of environmental risk and historic property use information and technology, 323 sites that currently house hazardous waste or have been contaminated in the past are within the immediate projected path of Hurricane Irma in South Florida. Ahead of Irma’s expected landfall on the United States mainland this weekend, EDR has unlocked access to a variety of data sets on its event response website. The site provides free data, maps, and access to its online community of experts to assist in hurricane preparation and recovery. Resources include important government records about environmental hazards and geospatial data for the location of properties that create, manage, process, transport or dispose of various hazardous chemicals and petroleum products.
Dean Graves, president and COO of EDR noted, “At a time when the potential for devastating impacts to families and businesses is so real, EDR is putting the depth and breadth of our historical environmental data and supporting services into the hands of those that require very precise, real-time information.”
About half of the high-risk sites in Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Counties are facilities that are required to submit Risk Management Plans (RMPs) to EPA, indicating that they use extremely hazardous substances that could cause toxic chemicals to be released into the air. Slightly fewer are documented as large quantity generators of hazardous substances, while 11 are known to treat, store and dispose of those materials. Ninety of the facilities participate in EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory System. There are also 12 properties within the four coastal counties combined on EPA’s National Priority List, including the former Petroleum Products Corp. site in Broward County which contaminated the Biscayne Aquifer with PCBs, heavy metals and chlorinated solvents until the 1980s. While the site has been undergoing clean up since 1987, EPA documented oil seepage on the site as recently as 2015 and it remains under remediation. The former PPC site is about three miles from the Atlantic coast, well within the area expected to experience 5-10’ storm surge and as much as 20” of rain.
According to Anthony Buonicore, a chemical engineer and EDR’s co-founder, “The impact of possible releases of toxic chemicals and hazardous substances must be addressed in hurricane emergency response efforts to avoid potential harm to the public.”
EDR’s Event Response Center, which it initially launched following Hurricane Harvey, will expand over the coming days to provide additional data sets as conditions in both Texas and Florida evolve. EDR will fulfill custom data requests from local officials and first responders free of charge.
The company has also opened its web-based community, EDR Connect, to the public. EDR Connect is an online destination where environmental consultants and other real estate experts exchange ideas and answer questions. Residents, first responders, government agencies or anyone impacted by the storms and subsequent flooding can ask questions about potential environmental hazards to experts nationwide. Access EDR’s Event Response Center.