Parkersburg, Iowa, Tornado Response
On Sunday, May 25, 2008, an EF-5 tornado tore through the southern portion of the city of Parkersburg, Iowa. Every building in its path was extremely damaged or destroyed. Eight people were killed and many others were injured. On Thursday, June 5, 2008, EPA Region 7 deployed personnel to the site for initial assessments.
On Monday, June 9, additional EPA Region 7 personnel arrived to begin air monitoring for particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) and asbestos. PM2.5 is 2.5 microns or less in size; PM10 is 10 microns or less. On Wednesday, June 11, the EPA Mobile Command Post was deployed. Air monitors were strategically placed around Parkersburg by the cleanup debris pile and at points with the most cleanup activity. Starting Thursday, June 12, air monitoring was conducted for PM10 (not including PM2.5) and asbestos.
Below are links to air sample results for particulate matter and asbestos. (Results were also taken in response to the flooding in Iowa.) The results of the particulate matter air samples were reviewed by EPA, and show that concentrations are below levels of concern. The results of the asbestos air samples also were reviewed by EPA, and show no asbestos structures detected. Structures is a broad term that includes all asbestos particles, including fibers. (Asbestos sample results take longer than particulate matter sample results.)
Also below is a link to an air monitoring location map that shows where the four stationary air monitors were located. As the city's contractor proceeds with the cleanup, a roving monitor will be used to sample the air at the points of cleanup activity.
The next link is a fact sheet that provides general safety precautions to take after a tornado. The last link contains specific precautions for homeowners to take while cleaning up their property.
This page will be updated as new information becomes available.
Particulate Matter Air Sample Summary Tables -
June 10-13, 16-20, 23-28 & 30 and July 1-3, 5, 7-12 & 14-23, 2008 (PDF) (19 pp, 207K, About PDF)
Asbestos Air Sample Summary Tables -
June 10-13, 16-20, 23-28 & 30 and July 1-3, 5, 7-12 & 14-23, 2008 (PDF) (19 pp, 210K, About PDF)
Air Monitoring Location Map (PDF) (1 page, 3.8MB, About PDF)
After a Tornado - Centers for Disease Control & Prevention fact sheet
Homeowner safety flier
Asbestos safety information