‘No 100% safety’: Florida toxic materials could leak as Irma hits, EPA‘aggressively’ securing sites (Source rt.com)
Scores of Environmental Protection Agency staff have been working to secure equipment and isolate hazardous materials at Florida’s 54 Superfund sites in the hours before Hurricane Irma made landfall – two weeks after similar sites were damaged by Hurricane Harvey.
Superfund sites are heavily contaminated former industrial zones.
The EPA “can’t guarantee it 100 percent,” that there will not be contamination following the storm, Senator Marco Rubio told AP Saturday night, but reassured the media that federal agents were “generally positive” about their preparation efforts.
“EPA feels they got a handle on it. They think that the risk is real but certainly not as severe as some other places. Not to minimize it – it’s something to think about,” said the Republican politician.
Potential leaks could poison water and soil and cause damage to humans or wildlife, or, at the very least, require expensive clean-up operations. This week, the EPA said it had sent more than 80 staff to Florida, compared to over 200 for Texas, but nonetheless hoped to be more proactive. “Operationally, we’ve tried to make sure we apply the same type of approach we used in Texas. Because of the area and the amount of population that’s affected in Florida, we’re trying to be even more aggressive,” US environmental chief Scott Pruitt said.