(127e) Infrastructure Impacts during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and Facility Siting Issues
AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 4:30pm to 5:00pm
During the events of Hurricane Katrina and Rita in August and September of 2005 the impacts to the US chemical, petroleum, energy, and other infrastructures were profound. The magnitude of impacts to the industries and the collective damages and disruptions were the most significant such event in U.S. history. This paper will review the key impacts and lessons learned from the storms, and is based on efforts by the author's firm to support the Department of Homeland Security in evaluating these impacts and supporting affected facilities. In particular, the siting of facilities and equipment proved to exaggerate or mitigate the consequences.
These impacts included:
o physical damage to facilities, such as wind and flooding; o extended plant closures in anticipation of and because of the storms; o disruption to staffing including the ability of workers to reach damaged and disabled facilities, the ability to attend to facilities given limited staffing, the need to attend to employee;s individual needs, housing and feeding of workers and temporary workers to restore services; o releases of hazardous materials; o unique security and safety demands caused by the changing environment.
The events surfaced many expected and unexpected issues of dependencies and interdependencies. For example, widespread impacts were created by common cause failures such as power, water or other utilities losses, common flooding, transportation infrastructure damage, loss of feedstocks and oil production, and common suppliers or services.
Numerous lessons were learned including:
o the need for improved coordination on industry characterization with DHS; o improved regional emergency response coordination for major events; o improved coordination between DHS and other Federal and local agencies; o the need for improved understanding of interdependencies and dependencies; o facility and equipment siting to minimize impacts of natural events o the need for improved catastrophic event business continuity planning and crisis management including the consideration of facility siting.
The lessons from these storms should be leveraged to improve the readiness of the US industry for natural as well as intentional events.
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