Minutes of the

Upper Mississippi River

Hazardous Spills Coordination Group Meeting

 

October 22-23, 2003

 

Four Points Sheraton

Rock Island, Illinois

 

 

John Whitaker of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources called the meeting to order at 1:10 p.m. on October 22, 2003.  The following Spills Group members and observers were present:

 

Rodney Tucker

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Stan Kalinoski

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

John Whitaker

Missouri Department of Natural Resources

John Grump

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Brad Palmer

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District

Mike Drieu

U.S. Coast Guard, Eighth District

Harvey Dexter

U.S. Coast Guard, Eighth District

Bob Pond

U.S. Coast Guard, Headquarters

Greg Morris

U.S. Coast Guard, MSD Quad Cities

Barbi Lee

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5

Ann Whelan

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5

Sheila Calovich

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5

Eddie McGlasson

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7

Stan Smith

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 3

Bob Clevenstine

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rock Island Field Office

Ginger Molitor

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rock Island Field Office

Russell Engelke

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Upper Mississippi River Refuge

Ed Britton

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Upper Mississippi River Refuge

Tim Julison

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Jack Briggs

Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Richard Wingrove

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Barry Johnson

U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center (via phone for NEBA discussion)

Gary Haden

McKinzie Environmental

Barb Naramore

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

 

Minutes of the April Meeting

 

The minutes of the April 15-16, 2003 UMR Spills Group meeting were approved as written.

 

Net Environmental Benefits Analysis

 

Ann Whelan reported that the Eighth Coast Guard District has asked its Headquarters to support a Net Environmental Benefits Analysis (NEBA) on the Upper Mississippi River in federal FY 04.  This would be the first NEBA effort on the inland rivers. 

 

Bob Pond described the NEBA process, which the Coast Guard calls Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA).  NEBA/ERA brings responders and resource experts together to examine the ecological consequences of various response options in a particular area.  Species and habitat impacts are both considered.  The process takes a risk-based approach to planning and seeks to build a consensus understanding regarding environmental tradeoffs in response.  This insight is then used to enhance response plans.  Pond explained that the process does not attempt to produce a single answer, but rather insight regarding a range of possible actions.  The Coast Guard and other agencies have cooperated on ERAs in many coastal areas with very positive results. 

 

Pond reviewed the basic steps in the NEBA/ERA process, noting that a Steering Group does considerable preparation in advance of a 2-3 day workshop at which responders and resource experts are brought together.  He said a fairly large geographic area can be addressed in a workshop, but emphasized that the full length of the UMR is far too great for a single effort.  He explained that the UMR would need to be broken into various sections, each of which could ultimately become the focus of a workshop.  Barb Naramore noted that the UMR is frequently broken into three major geomorphic reaches (i.e., Twin Cities to Quad Cities, Quad Cities to St. Louis, and the Open River below St. Louis).  She asked whether one of these reaches would still be too large.  Pond did not offer a specific opinion, but noted that the area needs to be small enough to consider a specific spill scenario.  He also observed that the process can be replicated with relatively less effort after it has been done once in a region.

 

Bob Clevenstine asked what tools are available to help screen the spatial distribution of threats on the UMR.  Whelan explained that much of the GIS-based data gathered as part of the Inland Sensitivity Mapping Project would be useful in this regard.  The data includes information on pipeline crossings, fixed facilities, and various environmentally sensitive areas.  Many of the fixed facilities tend to be located in relatively less sensitive areas.  However, she also noted that some sources of risk, such as barges, rail, and roadways, are found throughout the system, including in some of the most environmentally sensitive areas.  Ed Britton suggested the possibility of focusing the first UMR NEBA on a single pool.

 

In response to a question from Richard Wingrove, Pond said the Steering Group typically needs to start its work 2-3 months in advance of the workshop.  The group’s work can be accomplished via conference call and the independent efforts of its individual members.  Mike Drieu said the workshop’s main value comes in identifying potential new response options and exchanging information concerning key considerations.  Whelan said the workshops are also helpful in building consensus in advance of an actual incident, thereby reducing conflict during a response.  Pond agreed that the increase in mutual respect and understanding is quite valuable.

 

Naramore asked about public and stakeholder involvement in the process.  Pond said the Coast Guard has always encouraged such participants.  While stakeholder involvement in the Galveston Bay ERA was quite good, Pond said it has generally been difficult to attract non-agency people as participants.

 

John Grump asked whether everyone who might be part of the response needs to participate in the NEBA.  Pond said a balance must be struck between involving a broad range of expertise and perspectives and keeping the number of workshop participants manageable.

 

Ed Britton noted that the Fish and Wildlife Service is doing something somewhat similar as part of its Contaminants Assessment Program.  Stan Smith explained that, under this program, the Service takes a multi-media approach to identifying all contamination threats to a particular refuge unit.  The Service then considers whether there are any proactive steps it might want to take for the unit.

 

Pond explained that the Coast Guard has typically coordinated ERAs through its Area Committees.  He suggested that the UMRBA might serve a similar coordinating function for a UMR NEBA.  John Whitaker asked about the involvement of industry and local government representatives.  Pond said they should be included if they would be involved in response activities.  He noted that the Coast Guard generally defers to the state(s) involved to make judgments about this.  Pond said the key participants include the lead federal and state response and trustee agencies, as well as the responsible party and response contractors.  According to Pond, these key entities should have at least one representative each on the Steering Group and three representatives each at the workshop.

 

Gary Haden questioned whether it will be possible to attract participants to a 3-day workshop focusing on a single scenario.  Whelan explained that the scenario is simply a device to explore more general response issues and to attempt to distinguish between what is known and what is assumed among responders and resource experts.  Pond elaborated that the typical workshop focuses on a single oil spill scenario, examining what happens if there is no response and then what happens under alternative response approaches.  Haden suggested thinking more in terms of parameters than a specific scenario, in order to allow consideration of key factors such as seasonality that would not vary under a single scenario.

 

Spills Group members discussed whether dispersants should be included in the response options for the UMR pilot workshop.  Stan Kalinoski advised against considering dispersants, since they are barred from actual use on the UMR.  Grump suggested that the workshop might be a good place to revisit long held assumptions about dispersants.  Mike Drieu emphasized that exploring the science behind an option is not a commitment to use the technique.  He said the Coast Guard’s goal is to find the best way to protect public safety and the environment.

 

Whelan asked for input from the resource experts present, noting that the response program representatives had endorsed a pilot NEBA for the UMR at their April 2003 meeting.  Smith observed that selecting a subsection of the UMR for a pilot is certainly a less intimidating prospect than attempting to apply the process to the UMR as a whole.  Smith said he anticipates the Service would be invited as a participant in any such pilot.  Britton identified Pool 19 as a potential pilot location, noting that 70 to 80 percent of North America’s canvas back duck population migrates through Pool 19 and that the Cordova area hosts ecologically-significant mussel beds.  Smith and Bob Clevenstine advised approaching the resource agencies for their participation in the NEBA pilot through one of the three existing district forums, rather than approaching the agencies individually.  Barry Johnson said he anticipates that USGS could provide a variety of information that would be useful to the process, including GIS coverages and LTRMP monitoring data.  However, he said he was not aware of any specific research or modeling needs that USGS could address, such as fate and transport modeling.

 

Upon further discussion, it was agreed to form an initial Steering Group of regional representatives to work with Coast Guard Headquarters and contractor staff in designing and coordinating a UMR NEBA pilot.  Steering Group members will include Mike Drieu, Ann Whelan, Richard Wingrove, a representative of USGS’s Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, and Barb Naramore.  The geographic scope and schedule for the NEBA are among the first issues that the Steering Group will need to address.  Additional members will likely be added to the Steering Group after some of these basic decisions are made.  In particular, a state response person and state and federal personnel with specific resource expertise regarding the pilot area will need to be added.  The week of March 22, 2004 was identified as a possible target for the NEBA workshop.

 

Early Warning Monitoring Network

 

Ann Whelan and Barb Naramore reported that efforts are underway to establish a pilot early warning monitoring (EWM) station at Lock and Dam 15.  A YSI multi-parameter sonde, which monitors a suite of general indicator parameters, is in place and operational.  Work continues to establish a data transmission and access system.  In addition, requirements for the Turner fluorescence detector are still being determined.  The objective remains to deploy the Turner detector before the end of winter, to obtain cold season operating experience during the pilot period.  Whelan and Naramore said the Corps’ Rock Island District staff have been instrumental in establishing the pilot station at L&D 15.

 

Brad Palmer reported briefly on the October deployment of the YSI equipment and showed several photographs of the installation process.  He described various factors that were considered in selecting the precise location for the equipment, including flow rates, ice patterns, and debris potential.  An angle iron bracket is designed to divert ice flows, and the probes are deployed in a perforated PVC tube in order to allow flow while affording some debris protection.  Initial testing revealed that the probes’ readings varied little with depth.  Thus, the sonde was deployed at a depth of approximately 1-meter.  An adjacent building provides a sheltered area and power for the data logging and transmission equipment.

 

Naramore explained that, in addition to its work with the pilot monitoring station, the EWM Network Scoping Group will focus on issues related to communication and information dissemination over the next several months.  Members of the UMR Water Suppliers Coalition have already been surveyed regarding their capabilities, preferences, and priorities as they relate to designing a communication and information dissemination mechanism.  The survey revealed that UMR water suppliers do currently exchange information, but on an irregular basis.  The majority of respondents expressed interest in a more established system and said they would be willing to contribute information to such a system.  Most suppliers said they would like to receive initial spill notifications by phone, and said the most important notification information includes the type of event, the contaminant(s) involved and an estimated volume, what response actions are underway, and the time and location of the event.  Suppliers said they would like a web-based system for the exchange of other information, including updates during the course of a spill, time of travel estimates, and both historical and real-time water quality monitoring data.  Ensuring appropriate security for the web-based system was also a priority for water suppliers.

 

Stan Kalinoski asked who would review the data from EWM stations and what would trigger an investigation or response in reaction to data from the system.  Naramore explained that potential data verification protocols and response thresholds remain to be evaluated and will be among the issues that the Scoping Group considers during the remainder of the pilot phase.  Decisions about procedures and protocols will, in part, rest on who will be assuming responsibility for various aspects of the system. 

 

With no further discussion, the meeting adjourned for the day and members of the Spills Group were invited to view the pilot EWM station at Lock and Dam 15.  The meeting reconvened on October 23 at 8:02 a.m.

 

Report on Cape Girardeau Exercise

 

John Whitaker presented photos from an interagency exercise held in Cape Girardeau in early September.  Local officials and personnel from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Missouri Emergency Response Commission organized the exercise.  An expo day provided an opportunity for participants and observers to examine a wide range of response equipment.  The exercise itself had two major components, both of which included terrorism elements.  The first segment was staged at a dry dock facility and involved a sniper as well as hazardous and radiological material, requiring close coordination between law enforcement and responders.  The FBI was the lead for law enforcement and evidence collection, while a local official served as incident commander under a unified command for this first part of the exercise.  The second component revolved around a terrorist attack on an oil pipeline, which resulted in a release to the Upper Mississippi River.  EPA was the lead federal agency for this second component, and the Coast Guard deployed its Vessel of Opportunity Skimming System (VOSS) in support of the EPA response.

 

Harvey Dexter explained that, in an actual incident, the VOSS would be deployed well downstream of a spill, with the goal being to divert the material into an area of slower water and use the VOSS to collect it.  However, in the interest of making the entire exercise visible to the media and other observers, the VOSS was deployed near the rest of the exercise activities, in an area with a 4-5 knot current.  The VOSS is designed to operate in approximately 1 knot of current.  As flow rates increase, so does the potential for entrainment or for the boom to rip from the vessel.  At the exercise, the VOSS operators found an eddy along the left descending bank dike, where they were able to collect material that was carried into the area.  While this was not a particularly realistic deployment, the VOSS did perform well.  The Coast Guard elected not to deploy the VOSS’s inflatable storage barge.  Dexter explained that the Coast Guard does not typically use the barge in exercises because it is subject to damage from debris and over-inflation. 

 

Dexter noted that the VOSS operator can adjust the height of the system’s skimmer to minimize the amount of water collected with the spilled material.  He also reported that the U.S. Navy deployed an oleophilic skimmer, which was a useful supplement to the VOSS.  Navy personnel at the exercise indicated that this skimmer, which is based on the Great Lakes, could be available for inland river response.

 

Among the lessons learned, according to Dexter, was the importance of properly securing boom when responding on rivers.  The Navy personnel at the exercise were towing their boom into place and did not have an aft line on the boom.  The current caught the boom and entrained it under a stationary barge.

 

In response to a question from Gary Haden, Whitaker explained that each agency funded its own participation in the exercise.

 

John Grump asked whether a private entity would be the responsible party (RP) in the event of a release from its property due to a terrorist attack.  Mike Drieu noted that OPA 90 makes no special distinction for releases due to terrorist action, but said this important question is the topic of ongoing discussion at the national level.  Under the status quo, Drieu said he thinks it unlikely that large companies would try to walk away from a spill, in part due to public relations and liability concerns.

 

Coast Guard Updates

 

Harvey Dexter explained that Captain Ryan regretted being unable to attend today’s meeting due to a recent schedule conflict.  As a result, the Coast Guard will attempt to reschedule his presentation for a future Spills Group meeting.

 

Dexter reported that the Coast Guard and NOAA have developed Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Team (SCAT) training tailored to inland rivers and streams.  NOAA’s contractor, Research Planning, Inc., presented the first such training recently, with the time divided between classroom (2/3) and field (1/3) sessions.  Areas of focus included geomorphology, sediment dynamics, and environmental sensitivity indexes for large rivers.  As funding permits, the Coast Guard plans to hold additional inland SCAT training sessions.  Some space will be available to participants from other agencies with no course fee.  Richard Wingrove is maintaining a list of SCAT-trained personnel.  Wingrove and Dexter said they would be sure to inform Spills Group members of upcoming sessions as they are scheduled.

 

Dexter said EPA and Coast Guard personnel will meet in Taos next week to discuss changes in the availability of oil spill removal organizations (OSROs) on the inland rivers.  He explained that many small operators have gone out of business, leading to concern regarding the coverage provided by the remaining, larger operators.  Also of concern is the suitability of the remaining OSROs’ response equipment for inland rivers.  The meeting in Taos is expected to result in OSRO-related topics for broader discussion at EPA’s Freshwater Spills Symposium scheduled for April 2004 in New Orleans.

 

The Coast Guard is also planning a marine firefighting forum/exercise for the inland rivers.  Dexter explained that two similar sessions have been held in coastal areas.  The upcoming session will likely be held in either Louisville or Memphis.  Participants will look at marine firefighting issues, including salvage, legal considerations, vessel stability, Coast Guard and local responsibilities, ventilation, and basic strategies, from an inland river perspective.  In response to questions from Spills Group members, Dexter said the session will not address in situ burning, but will consider the environmental impacts of firefighting foam.

 

Stan Smith asked whether the Coast Guard was familiar with a recent State of Louisiana approach to assessing fees for small spills.  Mike Drieu said he was not, but offered to provide Smith with a contact in Louisiana.

 

UMR Spill Plan

 

Barb Naramore briefly described results from the recent survey of UMR Spill Plan users and distributed a written summary.  Spills Group members were responsible for distributing the survey to their plan holders.  Twenty-two responses were received, with 17 of those coming from state and local personnel.  The people who responded generally report that they are using the plan, primarily for reference and response.  Respondents specifically highlighted the contact information and resource lists as the most useful parts of the plan.  Their most common concern related to the plan’s length.  The substantial majority of respondents advocated retaining the UMR Spill Plan.

 

Mike Drieu asked why there is a separate UMR Spill Plan and questioned whether it is duplicative of the Area Contingency Plans (ACPs).  He described the approach used on the Gulf Coast, where a One Gulf Plan augments the ACPs for the various Captain of the Port zones.  According to Drieu, the One Gulf Plan provides consistency among the ACPs and contains the information that would otherwise have to be repeated in each of those plans, such as OPA 90 requirements and consultation procedures.

 

Ann Whelan observed that UMR Spill Plan effectively functions as the type of umbrella plan that Drieu was describing.  Whelan and Eddie McGlasson said EPA Regions 5 and 7 both view the UMR Plan as a Sub-Area Contingency Plan (SACP) that serves as an umbrella plan for the UMR and interfaces with the regional ACPs.  Naramore also noted that there are large reaches on the UMR that are not covered by a SACP.  For these areas, the UMR Plan is the only source of detailed contact and resource information.

 

Drieu suggested that it might be time to revisit the relationships between the regional ACPs, the UMR Spill Plan, and the SACPs on the river.  Harvey Dexter noted that staff in the St. Louis MSO responded to the survey by indicating that they do use the UMR Plan, but advising against maintaining it.  Their perspective was simply that they want a single plan to guide their riverine response.

 

John Grump said several of Wisconsin DNR’s wardens suggested a more compact plan, but also clearly expressed their desire for comprehensive resource information.  He advised against attempting to reduce the plan’s size, noting that the very information that contributes to its bulk is the information that users find the most helpful.  Whelan suggested that an HTML version of the plan would be easier to search than the PDF file that is currently distributed.  She also recommended finding a secure way to post the full plan online.  Currently, only the public access version of the plan is available on the UMRBA’s web site. 

 

Stan Smith said that, while he did not return any completed surveys, he did talk with Fish and Wildlife Service managers on the river concerning the plan.  Smith said these managers find the plan to be a useful reference. 

 

Naramore asked Spills Group members to give special consideration to the UMR Plan’s protocols.  She noted that, over the past few years, there seems to be an increasing problem with the protocols not being consistently employed.  This has particularly been the case with the notification protocol.  Naramore suggested that this could be because protocols are not useful, or are not consistent with the signatory agencies’ internal procedures, or are simply unfamiliar to the agency staff expected to implement them.  Whatever the reason, she questioned whether it is responsible to have the five state and four federal agencies signatory to the protocols, if they are not going to be followed. 

 

Whelan said she believes that personnel changes in the agencies over the years have degraded the protocols’ effectiveness.  Grump emphasized the need to exercise the plan.  Drieu concurred, stressing the need to exercise notification procedures in particular.  Whelan urged that the protocols be retained and that training and exercises be held to ensure response personnel are prepared to implement them.  She expressed particular concern at the prospect of eliminating the notification protocol, noting that this would be counter to the intent behind the UMR early warning effort.  Barbi Lee suggested an unannounced notification drill.  Grump and Whelan agreed to take the lead in conducting an unannounced test of the notification protocol.

 

Spills Group members expressed general agreement that a dedicated UMR Spill Plan should be retained.  However, they also agreed that it would be timely and productive to conduct a comprehensive review of the current UMR plan.  They formed a UMR Spill Plan Review Subcommittee for this purpose, with the members to include John Whitaker, Eddie McGlasson, Barbi Lee, a Coast Guard District 8 representative, and Barb Naramore.  Specific issues for the subcommittee’s review will include:

 

·      The relationship of the UMR Plan to other plans, particularly the OPA-mandated plans developed since the UMR Plan’s original publication

·      Optimal plan content and function

·      Role and value of the plan’s protocols

·      Options for developing a streamlined version of the plan more appropriate for field use (e.g., reach-specific resource appendices or a 1-2 page emergency action sheet)

·      Options for access and distribution (e.g., online, CD, etc.)

·      Training and outreach needs

 

Naramore announced that she will prepare a routine update to the UMR Spill Plan in the near future.  Updates currently in hand include changes to contact information from Eddie McGlasson and Stan Smith, as well as clarifications from Missouri drinking water staff concerning two water intakes.  Smith said he will provide a few additional updates concerning Fish and Wildlife Service field contacts.  Naramore asked all Spills Group members to review the plan carefully and provide her with any additional updates.  Members agreed to defer action on training and outreach needs and comprehensive updates to out-of-date resource lists, pending the work of the UMR Plan Review Subcommittee.

 

Planning and Mapping Updates

 

Gary Haden reported that the Greater St. Louis Sub-Area Committee has not been active recently, but is waiting for word on a potential Koch Pipeline exercise in the sub-area.  Haden said several members of the Quad Cities Sub-Area Committee participated in yesterday’s meeting with Citgo Petroleum.  Originally planned as a tabletop exercise, the meeting turned out to be more of a discussion regarding the potential for a major company exercise.  Eddie McGlasson explained that personnel from Citgo’s Bettendorf plant have asked their parent company to select their facility for such an exercise in 2004.  Plant personnel are receptive to the Sub-Area Committee’s involvement in designing and implementing the exercise.

 

Greg Morris reported on a recent boom deployment by Magellan Pipeline (previously Williams Pipeline).  Ann Whelan mentioned that EPA Region 5 recently conducted an unannounced exercise at a Westway facility.  The company used a barge in place of boom and this strategy was quite effective.

 

Barb Naramore reported that a revised Minneapolis/St. Paul atlas and sub-area plan will be released shortly.  The atlas has been expanded to include Minnesota and Wisconsin counties bordering the St. Croix River, and will also include response strategies as an integral part of the sensitivity maps for the first time.  Naramore observed that the response strategies, which cover most of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers in the sub-area, could not have been completed without the contributions of many agency, industry, and contractor representatives.  She also reported that the Minneapolis/St. Paul Sub-Area Contingency Plan has been substantially updated.  Whelan reported that Sonia Vega, an EPA Region 5 OSC, is now stationed in St. Paul.

 

John Grump said that Larry Reid is currently coordinating the Tri-State Hazmat Group.  The group’s work plan for the coming year is relatively light, reflecting many of its members’ increased commitments related to counterterrorism.  

 

Whelan reported that all Wisconsin mapping areas have been completed.  Sensitivity maps for Illinois are virtually complete, with a small area near bordering Indiana still pending.  She estimated that final maps are available for approximately 60 percent of Minnesota.  Rather than issuing all of the remaining individual mapping areas in Minnesota, EPA may elect to combine the remaining areas with a statewide update of the previously completed maps.  Technical issues related to this approach remain to be explored, including the feasibility of placing an entire state’s worth of maps and related materials on a single DVD.  Recognizing that many users do not have DVD drives, there would also need to be a strategy for subdividing a state for distribution on CD.  To date, Whelan estimated that EPA Region 5 has distributed between 6,000 and 7,000 CDs for its six-state region. 

 

McGlasson reported that EPA Region 7 initiated sensitivity mapping on the Missouri River last year, contracting with University of Missouri Extension for data and mapping services.  Region 7 wants to continue this mapping effort in FY 04, but may be required to put the contract out for competitive bid, which would disrupt progress.  In addition to the Missouri River, McGlasson said Region 7 would like to develop sensitivity maps, and a sub-area plan, for Lake of the Ozarks.

 

Agency Updates/Reports on Recent Incidents

 

Eddie McGlasson described an incident involving a Magellan pipeline in Kansas City.  There was a release in September from a line near a residential area.  The line had ruptured in the same general area approximately a year ago, releasing material to a creek and lake.  Homeowners in the area were already pursuing a suit against Magellan when the second release occurred.  The homeowners’ attorney arrived at the scene of the second spill and refused to remain behind the established barriers, claiming that the company was attempting to conceal evidence.  Responders ultimately had to request law enforcement assistance in dealing with the attorney.  McGlasson said the clean up was fairly successful.

 

Stan Smith reported that the Fish and Wildlife Service is adding approximately 9,000 acres at the former Savannah military base to the UMR Refuge.  This includes a combination of acquisition and management agreements.  Smith described portions of the site as quite contaminated and noted that negotiations over clean up and related issues required 8 or 9 years to complete.  Smith also reported on a pipeline spill in Indiana.  The pipeline ruptured, contaminating a wetland adjacent to the Wabash River.  The incident was only reported about two weeks later, when water levels in the area dropped, revealing oiled trees and other vegetation.  Smith said clean up options at that point were quite limited.  The state took the lead in response and there was no federal project number for the incident.  However, the Service was still able to successfully petition the National Pollution Funds Center for money to conduct a Natural Resources Damage Assessment pre-assessment. 

 

Rodney Tucker noted that methamphetamine labs continue to be a significant law enforcement and environmental issue in Iowa.  Tucker also described recent weapons of mass destruction training he received at a federal training center in Alabama.  According to Tucker, both classes he took were excellent.  The Justice Department sponsors the training and there are no fees for participants.  Currently the classes are open only to state and local responders.

 

Stan Kalinoski described a small release in the Lake City area, where a marina owner was dredging without a permit.  Kalinoski said impacts from the release were minor, but the response effort was initially complicated when the marina owner sought assistance from elected officials.  Kalinoski also reported that Magellan ruptured one of its pipelines when conducting a pressure test.  The company reported the failure promptly, but had some difficulty locating the failed line.  The section in question was eventually found, and it was determined that only a small amount of residual oil was released.

 

Greg Morris reported on two minor spills on the Mississippi River.  A passenger vessel, the Mississippi Belle, released approximately 5 gallons from its upper deck diesel supply when a shut-off device malfunctioned.  Secondly, less than 5 gallons were estimated to have been released from the bilge of vessel at a marina.  The Coast Guard issued tickets in both instances.  Morris also reported that the Coast Guard recently published its final rules establishing new facility and vessel security plan requirements.  Plans are due from operators in December 2003.  John Whitaker noted that the Department of Transportation is also requiring security plans from transporters.

 

Whitaker reported on a small release from one of two abandoned pipelines near Alton.  The leak was first evidenced by a sheen on the river.  The lines are near a Conoco Phillips facility, but are not owned by the company.  However, Conoco sent divers to inspect the lines, which were simply laid on the surface of the riverbed.  Conoco pumped, patched, and sealed the leaking line, only to have the sheen reappear later.  Conoco redeployed its resources and repaired the line a second time. 

 

Whitaker also reported that Missouri is forming homeland security teams statewide, building on existing hazmat teams where possible.  The state is trying to enhance consistency of training, while retaining some flexibility for the teams as long as minimum content is covered.  Whitaker also informed the group of possible changes in the way Missouri DNR funds its emergency response functions.  Currently, emergency response is funded through hazardous waste fees.  However, this authority sunsets in 2005.  Whitaker said industry representatives have expressed opposition to continuing to fund emergency response through these waste fees. 

 

John Grump said that meth labs continue to be a major problem in Wisconsin.  However, law enforcement has a clean up contractor, so state response personnel only handle drums.

 

Richard Wingrove reported that he has spent considerable time on various training efforts.  In addition to the SCAT training class Harvey Dexter described earlier, which was conducted by Research Planning, Inc., Wingrove said NOAA has developed its own SCAT training that can be done at lower cost.  He said this training could be offered on the inland rivers if there is sufficient interest.  NOAA will be conducting its class on the Great Lakes in the near future.  Wingrove also reported that NOAA will hold a class in Cincinnati next May on the science of oil spills.  This class is typically held in Seattle and focuses on marine environments, but the session in Cincinnati will focus on lakes and rivers.  The class is limited to 30 participants.  Barb Naramore encouraged Wingrove to keep the Spills Group members informed of such opportunities, and offered her assistance in distributing announcements.

 

Ann Whelan said EPA Region 5 has not responded to any significant spills affecting the Upper Mississippi recently.  Like other EPA regions, Region 5 has several new OSCs.  Both the old and new OSCs have been receiving lots of training, much of which is counterterrorism related.  Whelan reported that Region 5 has requested a Spill of National Significance (SONS) exercise for 2005 or 2006.  Tentative plans call for a scenario involving a pipeline explosion on the Upper Mississippi.  While the request has not yet been approved, the Coast Guard and industry have expressed support for the proposal.

 

Other Business

 

The next meeting of the UMR Spills Group was tentatively set for April 20-21, 2004 in the Quad Cities.  However, other possibilities were also discussed, including holding the meeting in conjunction either with the NEBA workshop tentatively slated for late March or with a water security conference planned for St. Louis in early May.  Barb Naramore said she would explore the various options and finalize the meeting dates and location within the next few months.  [Note:  The next Spills Group meeting was subsequently set for April 20-21, 2004 in Rock Island, Illinois.]

 

Ann Whelan announced that organizers of the Freshwater Spills Symposium are accepting presentation abstracts through the end of October.  The conference is scheduled for April 6-8, 2004 in New Orleans.  She said there may be some travel funding for presenters who would otherwise be unable to attend.

 

With no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:37 a.m.