USACE, St. Louis District
USACE, St. Paul District
USACE, Rock Island District/USCG
USACE, Rock Island District
Cedar American Rail
Cedar American Rail
1 = First day only.
2 = First day only by phone.
3 = Second day only.
4 = Second day only by phone.
Call to Order and Introductions
The meeting of the Upper Mississippi River Hazardous Spills Coordination Group (UMR Spills Group) was called to order at by Rodney Tucker, UMR Spills Group chair. Introductions of all in attendance followed.
Recent UMR Response Events
MV Omaha Grounding
Tucker gave a presentation regarding the grounding of the
tow boat MV Omaha on
Tucker offered the following summary of successes and challenges associated with the response effort:
Successes of the Response Effort
§ There was a great partnership between the responsible party (National Maintenance and Repair) and the response agencies involved.
The equipment needed for the response was in the
§ A small amount of oil was spilled considering the potential for release.
§ Side channels were successfully used for collection.
§ Boom vane was successfully deployed.
Challenges in the Response Effort
§ Very remote location made response difficult.
§ Rapidly rising water and flooding.
§ Large amount of debris in the river.
§ Took 10 days for entire operation to be completed.
§ Complications presented by nearby residents.
Rob McCaskey noted that booming for this response was challenging, even in the side channels. He added that the boom vane deployment was a more successful technique than conventional booming, noting that the boom vane had been provided via a Minnesota-based contactor. McCaskey also commented that the barges which were brought in to raise the tow served two additional functions, to both slow the current and block debris entry into the area.
Craig Schafer asked McCaskey whether the responsible party and the Coast Guard created a unified command. McCaskey replied that, yes, this is how the response unfolded, even though it was never federalized. Schafer asked Tucker whether the response was daytime only or whether it was a round-the-clock response. Tucker replied that it was some of each during the course of the response.
Jim Silver noted that, as part of the discussion during the
revision of the
McCaskey re-iterated that the boom vane had performed well, noting that while it is an expensive tool, its success counterbalances that concern. He added that 10-12” boom was too large for use in this area, and that 6-8” would be preferred for large river response – emphasizing that this is an important consideration for future spill planning and response. Schafer concurred that this insight regarding boom size is an important lesson learned.
Schafer asked whether a public information officer was part of the response effort. Tucker replied that dealing with local media was challenging on the first day of the response, but that the public information officer worked well.
Mike Ball gave a presentation regarding the train derailment
Ball described the incident priorities as: 1) life safety, 2) incident stabilization, and 3) property conservation. Other observations made by Ball regarding the response included:
§ The incident took place in a remote location which made access and communications difficult. No equipment caches were nearby, so materials had to be acquired and brought in.
§ The Coast Guard was helpful in establishing no-wake zones to aid the response.
§ After some initial challenges, the combined public/private sector response worked well and the rail company (Cedar American) was involved in all aspects of the incident command structure. In this sense, the rail company was able to “control its own destiny.”
§ The presence of rail cars carrying ethanol added complication to the response. Even though ethanol was not spilled, this was a concern both in terms of potential spills and the presence of a flammable material at the response site.
§ A specialized re-railing contactor was employed to bring locomotives out of the river.
§ Many sorbent booms were used which ultimately had to be removed and incinerated.
Schafer asked how many cars, in total, had been derailed. Ball replied that a total of 14 cars had been derailed. Roger Lauder asked how explosion risks had been minimized in the response. Ball replied that an explosion-proof pump in a closed loop system had been employed. Tucker noted that there had been some concerns regarding the safety of Iowa DNR conservation officers’ actions during the response, but that these had been addressed.
Jim Holland introduced himself and described his company, Pinnacle Engineering as a “second responder,” responsible for technical and remedial work. He provided additional observations regarding the response to the derailment as follows:
§ The first boom was placed in the water approximately 12 hours after the incident and that boom had been obtained from nearby lock and dam facilities.
§ Efforts made by Iowa DNR were helpful in the response.
§ The incident took place in a side channel (slough) that included fish and mussel habitat.
§ About 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel was lost into the river (out of a total of 10,000 gallons). Most of the product was lost before booms were in place. Once booms were in place, recovery of product was very successful.
§ Pinnacle is working on mussel recovery with Iowa DNR and mussel studies are underway. Some mussels downstream from the site have shown a dark “smudge” on their inside surface.
§ Communication was a challenge in this location.
§ Shutting down the slough and managing no wake zones were among the biggest challenges in the response.
§ High water was actually helpful as it allowed the work barge with crane to reach the site.
Jim Silver asked if there was any US EPA presence at the response. Ball replied that there had been no US EPA presence, though his understanding was that the Coast Guard had coordinated with US EPA. He added that in most responses, the local jurisdiction would lead the incident command, but in this case the rail company led.
Ball further explained that the response contractor used by
the rail company for this incident was SunPro, based out of
Ball commented that the response operation could not go 24 hours a day due to safety concerns and that, overall, the entire response took 15 days. In closing, Ball thanked the group for the opportunity to present.
Several members of the Group gave presentations on responses related to floods that occurred throughout 2008.
Haden asked how dead livestock was disposed. Tucker replied that this was an issue, but
that disposal was eventually handled through the Department of Agriculture by
USDA contractors. Whelan noted that
there is a new ESF addressing this kind of disposal issue (general waste). Schafer noted that
Tucker also noted that air monitoring took place once areas had dried out, but that no concerns were identified.
US EPA Region 7:
Jim Silver noted that substantial flooding occurred multiple times
throughout the year, ranging from March to September. He commented that the September floods in the
Kendzierski reported on the flooding that took place in Wisconsin, and
specifically focused on the failure of the dike separating Lake Delton from the
Wisconsin River, which led to the draining of Lake Delton and input of debris
to the Wisconsin River. He noted that
US EPA Region 5:
Faryan commented on Region 5’s flying of the
Punkiewicz noted that USACE is currently engaged in dredging operations and
levee repair as a result of the flooding.
He added that forecasting was critical in preparing for and dealing with
the flood events. More generally, Punkiewicz commented that USACE is still in
the position of needing to communicate that the locks and dams on the
USFWS: Mike Coffey reported that fish hatcheries, in particular, sustained a lot of infrastructure damage from the flooding. Whelan asked whether, on balance, the floods had done more damage from a fish and wildlife perspective, or had actually helped create more natural conditions for the River. Coffey replied that no formal survey had been conducted to attempt to assess the net impact of the flooding.
Kendzierski reported that a new US EPA Region 5 OSC (Kathy
Clayton) was now stationed in
Schafer reported on an incident near
Lauder reported that, overall, Illinois EPA’s emergency
response unit has been seeing about 250 incidents per month statewide. He noted that there had been a pipeline break
Gann noted that an indictment was recently brought against a
company for dumping of biodiesel and glycerin.
He also reported that the breakthrough of gas into PVC drinking water
lines has recently been observed – indicating that PVC lines can be
compromised. Gann noted that
Tucker asked whether dates had yet been set for the TRANSCAER events. Gann replied that it would be in April 2009, but did not have more specific dates available. He added that the location of one of the events would be at the new ethanol facility near Lock 27.
Schafer noted that
US EPA Region 7
Silver commented that Region 7 is currently engaged in assisting US EPA Region 6 in response to hurricanes.
US Army Corps of Engineers
Frank Catalano reported that USACE is working with the Coast Guard on an MOA that will position two response trailers at USACE-managed reservoirs.
US Coast Guard
McCaskey noted that, in addition to working with USACE, the Coast Guard is in communication with Wakota CAER and others regarding the disposition of response trailers.
Tucker reported that
Coffey commented that USFWS had been working on the crude
oil spill in southern
US EPA Region 5
Whelan distributed draft biodiesel and ethanol production
facility manuals, which have recently been created by Region 5 to aid
facilities in planning and response. She added that chemical and radiation
training took place during the recent Republican National Convention in
Whelan reported that improvements are being made in the National Response Center (NRC) system which will allow for the updating of NRC reports and editing of records by EPA for incidents that are in EPA’s jurisdiction. The summary of UMR-specific reports to the NRC covering the period of April-September 2008, as prepared by Faryan, was also distributed at this time.
Considerations and Approaches for Response Strategy Development Beyond Sub Areas
Whelan initiated a discussion of response strategy development by noting the following:
§ Responses strategies have been developed for the sub areas and Net Environmental Benefits Analyses (NEBAs) have been done for a few UMR pools.
§ However, these efforts have only covered a small fraction of the UMR.
§ The challenge to be considered is how to expand response strategy development beyond the sub areas and how to use the lessons learned in efforts so far to make future efforts expedient and successful.
Coffey suggested that other approaches or paradigms outside
of the way response strategies have been developed to date may need to be
considered. Schafer commented that the
same question has come up in
Whelan suggested that one approach might be simply to catalog effective techniques for the UMR so that these are well known and readily available to those involved in UMR responses. McCaskey concurred, suggesting that it may be important to capture the “lessons learned” regarding UMR response.
The group listed the following areas where lessons learned for the UMR could be documented:
§ Boom types and configurations, including boom vane and boom deflector.
§ Wildlife hazing.
§ Use of side channels and slack waters.
§ Barges as boom.
§ Unique species/populations.
§ Drinking water intakes.
§ Rail lines.
Dave Hokanson indicated that UMRBA could work with Whelan on compiling this information.
The meeting adjourned for the day at and resumed at on October 16th.
Hokanson reported on the recent activities to update, expand
and improve response strategies for a 60-mile reach of the UMR in the greater
Hokanson offered the following
outcomes and observations from the
It is difficult to prevent materials from
entering Chain of Rocks, but there are some actionable areas that could be
used, including side channels, National Maintenance & Repair,
§ Manipulation of Lock 27 may only increase collection success somewhat in the Chain of Rocks canal, but still may be worth doing. Communication with USACE will be important if this option is pursued.
§ Barges may need to be considered as an option for deflection, given the difficulty in deploying boom in this area.
§ Seasonal and flow conditions important are important determinants of applicable techniques and their likely success.
§ Side channels/slack water may need to be used for collection in their upper portions for collection, rather than completely excluding around these areas. It may be necessary to “trade off” bringing some product into these channels to protect more sensitive areas downstream.
§ Many access points are available in the areas, but some that were thought to be useable are not.
§ Notification is the key for working with water suppliers to protect intakes. They value notification above any on-water strategies that might be implemented.
Hokanson further described next steps in terms of products and process as follows:
§ UMRBA will refine strategy maps and the associated database, and then produce a draft CD for review and finalization. Input will be sought from those who participated in the process as well as agencies who were interested, but unable to participate.
§ Once the CD is completed, a meeting/discussion with industry regarding the strategies will be held. This may include: oil and petroleum facilities, shipping/barge companies, and response contractors.
§ Additionally, modeling of flows for the area may be incorporated.
§ Ultimately, the response strategies will be incorporated into the Inland Sensitivity Atlas and UMR Response DVD.
Whelan observed that a meeting with industry would be important, as their facility plans need to be consistent with what is presented in the response strategies. She added that most of the facilities in the area were actually in Region 5. Whelan suggested that the conversation with industry take place in the context of a sub area planning discussion. Hokanson offered that such a meeting could potentially take place some time in early 2009.
Lauder suggested that hearing from those working on the
Illinois River port security effort might help inform how to proceed in the
Haden concurred with Whalen’s suggestion that a “roll-out” to industry occur in the context of a Greater St. Louis Sub-area planning meeting. He added that there needed to be openness to input from industry and that the response strategies effort could eventually feed into an exercise in the area.
UMR Early Warning Monitoring Network
Bill Franz gave an update on the status of the network,
indicating that three monitoring stations are in place in
Mike Anderson provided details of progress at the Lock and
Dam 14 site. He reported that he was
working on the equipment procurement process, having already secured approval
for the mutliparameter probe and UV spectrometer while continuing to work on
approval for the mussel monitor and auto-sampler.
Franz reported that data sharing and availability were now
being addressed, and that a work group had been set up to address this
issue. He added that the
Regarding the station at
Franz also noted that there is possibility to install a
future monitoring station at the National Great Rivers Research and
Franz emphasized that once the funding from the US EPA grant is used up, it will be critical to identify an entity to keep the network running. One option Franz proposed was re-approaching the US EPA Region(s) through their drinking water and Superfund programs to determine if more support could be found there.
Whalen asked what the support for the network was among the drinking water utilities. Franz responded that there is interest, but not on a completely voluntary basis. Schafer indicated he would work with Dave Morrison on encouraging ongoing support within MPCA. Franz indicated that a federal/Congressional strategy for funding might be needed.
Developments in Response Planning
Whelan discussed the movement of the Region 5 Integrated Contingency Plan (ICP) towards a format that will incorporate web availability, linked PDF documents, supporting databases, and maps. She mentioned that the reasons for pursuing this approach include improving accessibility, limiting text, and allowing for updates to be completed more easily via the database.
Whelan presented a template being developed for the Region 5 ICP and suggested that, since the UMR Plan shares a similar structure, the approach being taken in the Region 5 ICP could be applied to the UMR Plan during its next update.
Haden expressed interest in the approach, given ongoing work to update the Region 7 plan and improve its accessibility. Whelan suggested that it would be beneficial for the Regions to avoid duplicating efforts in updating plans.
Area and Sub-Area Planning Updates
Minneapolis-St. Paul Sub Area
Whalen reported that the updating process in the Twin Cities
had begun and that Steve Lee of MPCA was working with
Quad Cities Sub Area
Haden reported that the Quad Cities Sub Area had been fairly quiet, and that just a few minor edits to the restricted distribution version of the plan needed to be made.
Haden indicated that, since the St. Louis Sub Area Plan is
current, the focus in the sub area has turned to response strategies
development and exercises. He
anticipated that the next meeting of the St. Louis Sub Area planning committee
would be timed to occur following the completion of the
Silver asked whether
Content, Updates and Revisions
Whelan commented that further development of National Wildlife Refuge Plans along the UMR would be one way of supplementing the content and scope of the UMR plan.
Reflecting on the conversations from the previous day’s meeting, Whelan encouraged the group to begin the process of documenting the “lessons learned” for the UMR, including topics as discussed previously (such as use of barges as boom, etc.). She also commented that would be important to capture the concept that conventional booming simply will not work in some areas of the river and that alternative options need to be considered. Hokanson and Whelan indicated that they would work on draft documents to be circulated to the group for further comment and input.
In regard to the use of barges as boom, Lauder observed that decontamination of barges might be problematic and potentially expensive. Whelan acknowledged this issue, but suggested that the benefits of using barges, including speed of deployment and use in areas where boom cannot be successfully deployed, would likely outweigh decontamination costs and that their use may actually end up being less expensive for a responsible party than conventional approaches. Lauder concurred, clarifying his concern that barge companies not suffer adverse impacts/costs if they are willing to assist in a response.
Hokanson noted that the UMR Plan will be updated to include
downstream states’ contact numbers. The
group suggested that, similarly, Sector Lower Mississippi River (based in
Emergency Action Field Guide
Hokanson indicated that another run of 300 laminated copies
of the Guide would be completed in the near future. Lauder commented that
UMR Response Training and Drills
UMR Notification Drill
The group was in agreement that a notification drill, focusing on the lower portion of the UMR, should take place before the next meeting of the UMR Spills Group.
May 2008 Quad Cities Spill Response Training
Tucker provided a summary of the response training that took
Future Training Events
The group discussed possible location, content, and timing
of a next training event. Silver
suggested that training could be done in the
Whelan proposed that non-conventional techniques be considered, such as the use of barges and boom vane. Punkiewicz suggested that these techniques could be attempted/demonstrated in the Quad Cities initially. McCaskey provided the manufacturer’s web site for boom vane, where more information could be obtained (www.orc.se).
Tucker suggested that a later summer training session in
McCaskey noted that use of the VOSS was limited to current of one knot or less. Gann added that it can also be vulnerable to debris. Tucker asked whether only the Strike Team could deploy the VOSS. Whelan indicated that this was the case.
Whelan summarized possible components to be demonstrated as part of a training session:
1) Barge as boom
3) Boom vane
4) Boom deflector
She also suggested that options for timing and location
would be the
The group’s consensus preference was for training to be held
Next Meeting Date and Location
After discussing alternatives for date and location, the
group concluded that their next meeting should be held