Data confirms East Pearl River not contaminated by Hurricane Katrina

By on July 25, 2012
director of the Center for Trace Analysis at the University of Southern Mississippi

A team of researchers in Mississippi launched a two-year study that found water quality in the East Pearl River was not affected after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Led by Alan Shiller, director of the Center for Trace Analysis at the University of Southern Mississippi, the team had been monitoring the water quality of the river for several years prior to the storm. This made it easy for them to gear-up and collect more samples after the hurricane blew through.

The river, located in southwest Mississippi, was caught in the middle of the violent storm. This led Shiller and his team to believe the river could have become contaminated during the heavy wind and rain. After repairing their lab from the storm destruction, the team set out to put their theory to the test.

The researchers collected water samples from the river to test for a variety of analyses. They focused on using a highly sensitive element detector to measure any excessive elements in the water, including copper and zinc. They also used a high temperature organic carbon analyzer to test for dissolved organic carbon.

“There wasn’t any significant change,” Shiller said. “It just seemed like there was a good chance we might see something.”

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