USACE, St. Louis District
USACE, St. Paul District
USACE, Rock Island District/USCG
USCG, Sector UMR
USCG, Sector UMR
1 = By telephone.
2 = First day only.
3 = Second day only.
Call to Order and Introductions
The meeting of the Upper Mississippi River Hazardous Spills Coordination Group (Group) was called to order at 1:05 p.m. by Chair Roger Lauder. Introductions of all in attendance followed.
UMR Case Studies
Roger Lauder gave a
presentation summarizing the train derailment and resulting ethanol spill that
occurred June 19, 2009 in
Lauder noted the following as among the lessons learned from the incident:
§ The importance of communication and stopping rail traffic when tracks are damaged.
§ The need for caution in assuming that all product has been burned off in an incident such as this, as well as the importance of testing to determine whether product has been released.
§ The need to compile data and findings regarding this event in order to help prepare for any similar events in the future.
Lauder added that similar events were likely to occur in the future as the amount of ethanol carried on trains increases.
Gary Haden asked about communication to the rail company regarding the damaged track and why the train had not been stopped. Lauder replied that the National Transportation Safety Board was currently investigating the circumstances leading to the derailment.
Dave Morrison asked whether
local fire fighters had been concerned about the possibilities of the rail cars
exploding. Lauder replied that all
responders had kept their distance from the incident. He added that the waterway connection to the
Coffey described the fish kill that resulted from the release of ethanol that followed the derailment described by Lauder. He noted that more that 72,000 fish were killed, with the deaths beginning approximately 13 hours after the derailment and taking place over a distance of approximately 54 miles in length and significantly downstream from the location of the derailment. Coffey described the roles of the agencies involved in the environmental investigation and the role of the US FWS in particular. He further detailed how the delayed fish kill was consistent with other ethanol spills and noted that this could be attributed to the biodegradation of ethanol removing dissolved oxygen from the water as the spill plume moved downstream. Coffey further elaborated that ethanol spills appear to cause both immediate toxicity at the point of release (from acetaldehyde and/or ethanol toxicity) as well as delayed drop in dissolved oxygen as total organic carbon and bacteria counts rise.
As Lauder had done, Coffey emphasized the importance of learning from this event, in order to be best prepared for any similar events in the future.
Rob McCaskey asked whether
dead fish observed near the Mississippi River actually died further upstream
and then floated to the
Coffey indicated that US FWS
was involved in sampling fish, beginning at
In terms of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), Coffey noted that US FWS had to do a lot of research to become familiar with ethanol. He added that it was difficult to look for ethanol breakdown products in dead fish and that multiple data sets had to be examined. Coffey indicated that one of the questions to be answered in the NRDA was whether the ethanol itself reached concentrations sufficient to cause fish kills.
Morrison asked Coffey whether any testing for dissolved oxygen (DO) was done on the day of the incident. Coffey replied that DO testing was done, but that it was behind the plume and as such DO levels looked normal.
Coffey explained that there
is still a lot to be learned in incidents involving ethanol, including
answering questions as to what typical levels of breakdown products are in
tissue. He noted that a time delay is
involved in regard to the depletion of oxygen, as it takes some time for
bacteria to consume the oxygen. Coffey
indicated that there are really two phases of impact associated with an ethanol
spill: 1) initially, a toxic phase due to high concentrations of ethanol, and
2) later, the lowering of DO due to the action of bacteria – and the resulting
fish kill. He emphasized that the
delayed fish kill is unique “signature” of an ethanol spill and that a previous
Lauder added that, in this case, there were also no other likely explanations for the cause of the fish kill. Coffey concurred that other land uses were examined to see if there were any other likely explanations, but none were found.
Coffey made the following additional observations about the incident:
§ Care needs to be taken in the preservation of fish samples by freezing, as the freezing process may make it more difficult to determine cause.
§ Aeration may help save fish, but it is still to be determined if this is truly the case and, if so, how it would be implemented.
§ The decay of dead fish will also consume a lot of oxygen and may cause a secondary “crash” of DO levels. There may also be related issues of botulism and biofouling as a result of the fish kill.
§ River flows and flood stage will greatly affect the outcomes in an incident.
Haden asked what effect temperature has on the situation. Coffey and Aleshia Kenney replied that warm water holds less oxygen than cold water. Haden also asked whether cool water would also slow bacterial action. Coffey and Kenney affirmed that this would be the case.
Coffey indicated that he would also like to understand more how response funds could be accessed for this and similar incidents. He noted that, in this case, the ethanol involved was fuel-ready and as such would have made the situation eligible for this funding.
Tucker asked whether the US
Coast Guard (USCG) had responded to the incident. McCaskey replied that the USCG had been
informed that the product was burning and that the incident was 50 miles from a
navigable water. He added that the
incident also occurred within USCG’s
Coffey next presented ideas for an ethanol response field kit that would contain sampling and documentation supplies appropriate for investigation of an ethanol spill.
Coffey offered the following as lessons learned from the incident:
§ Pay special attention to transportation accidents involving large quantities of ethanol near water.
§ Get natural resource staff and the RP out immediately in downstream wetlands, streams, and river reaches to move species that are sensitive to low dissolved oxygen and to create dissolved oxygen refugia.
§ Distribute fact sheets to the press on ethanol impacts to aquatic life in surface waters.
§ Beware of changing exposure pathways and a shift in the causation logic: first ethanol and/or acetaldehyde toxicity then a DO crash, with river TOC and bacteria counts going up.
§ Consider the ecological risks from use of fire fighting foams.
Lauder indicated that Illinois EPA is adding a one page summary of lessons learned regarding ethanol spills to its contact list.
Haden asked what was thought to be the cause of turtle deaths observed in the incident. Coffey indicated that it may have been from botulism arising from increased bacterial activity or from acetylaldehyde levels, but that it is not exactly clear. Haden asked if impacts to mussels were observed. Coffey replied that some beds had been impacted, but that the mechanism of the impact had not been determined.
In regard to a separate
incident involving an ethanol release in
Kenney noted that, in the
Haden asked whether there was any sense of how fish populations were recovering. Kenney replied that the recover of populations appeared fairly good at this point. Faryan noted that possibilities brought out in this incident for the potential use of aeration in response.
Pool 7 Oil Spill Case Study: Implications for Communication
Morrison provided the details
of a June 2009 incident on Pool 7, involving the presence of an observed oil
sheen. He described how the incident
began with citizen reports of a sheen to USACE, followed by an observation by
Long Term Resource Program water quality staff, and then engagement by agencies
Morrison noted that by the time the spill reached Lock & Dam 7, it was a light sheen which had been dispersed bank-to-bank. He summarized by saying that by the end of the day there was light dissipated sheen and no response actions had taken place. Morrison noted that USCG thought that a recreational vessel may have been responsible, but also later boarded a commercial vessel that had been in the area at the time of the release. However, he indicated that no conclusive evidence of the source of the release was identified and that no sampling had been done.
Morrison commented that ultimately may people wanted to know about the spill and it had been difficult to choose who needed to be notified of the event. He also noted that reports from the public were subsequently received which indicated that the spill may have been larger than initially believed.
Morrison offered the following concluding comments regarding the incident:
§ There are two groups on the river who were interested and involved in the incident: 1) responders – who have the response assets to deal with a release, and 2) resource managers – who have the ability to get on the water most quickly.
§ USCG does have the ability to match a sheen to a source – but that a sample must be collected. McCaskey added to this that chain of custody must also be maintained in these cases.
§ Sheen reports can sometimes be indicative of larger situations/problems.
§ Communication in these incidents is very important.
§ An incident action plan (IAP) for Pool 7 may be a useful tool to help organize a response, as it can aid in having the ability to set up incident command (or unified command) very quickly.
McCaskey commented that he had heard two themes in Morrison’s presentation: 1) there was a lack of communication early in the incident, and 2) later, there was too much traffic in communications. He added that it may have been better to have contacted the NRC earlier in the communication chain. Morrison replied that MPCA had thought that USACE was contacting the NRC.
Jared Angelle noted that USCG is open to using its alert warning system as a way to augment communication in spill incidents. Faryan said that this type of tool would be one way to modernize the communication approach set up in the UMR Spill Plan.
Preview of 3D Modeling Demonstration
Adam Ziegler of USACE gave a brief preview of the 3D modeling demonstration that would take place at the conclusion of the Group’s meeting the following day. Faryan thanked Ziegler for the opportunity to view this modeling project and noted that current spill modeling capability includes that available through NOAA and the private sector, and that forming additional modeling contacts with USACE is also valuable. Morrison commented that lockmasters have models available for their use. Pettis commented that available models do not address travel time directly and that this is also affected by dam settings. Faryan stated that one of the goals for spill response was to have models that addressed travel time. Pettis replied that, currently, this could be estimated by elevation changes.
Early Warning Monitoring Network Update
Faryan commented that work on
the network is proceeding under a US EPA Region 5 Regionally Applied Research (
Lauder noted that getting
cooperation on a project such as this across state, federal, and regional lines
can be difficult. Jim Silver offered
that Anheisher-Busch might be a potential private partner for this in the
Development of Spill Response Cooperatives on the
Matt Stokes provided comments
on his work to help develop and revitalize spill cooperatives in the
Stokes next described the
efforts he helped initiate in the Red Wing,
Stoke next mentioned work
done in the LaCrosse, Wisconsin area, noting that there was more complexity in
this setting than in Red Wing. He
indicated that he had been working with Keith Butler of
In regard to future work on cooperatives, Stokes suggested bringing Winona and other nearby cities into the process. He also proposed inclusion of other Class 1 railroads and more individuals with local knowledge. Some of the players Stokes suggested bringing in were: Midwest Fuels, Kwik Trip, J.F Brennan, and Dairyland Power.
Morrison commented that CAER
groups need to be industry-led. He added
that, at least on the
Faryan agreed that it is important to support the development of cooperatives and CAER groups, noting that US EPA could potentially help to support training for such groups. He also emphasized that there is little response equipment available on much of the UMR.
Stokes asked if it was possible for a CAER group to become an oil spill response organization (OSRO). McCaskey replied that it would be possible, though the rules regarding this are fairly strict.
Morrison observed that a CAER group has more associated administrative burdens than a cooperative. Stokes observed that one of the challenges was to identify funding to support cooperatives and CAER groups. Faryan noted that it might be possible to supply a cooperative with a USCG response trailer.
Faryan provided a brief update regarding ongoing efforts to develop contingency planning tools for the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge (UMRNW&FR). He indicated that work is continuing in Pool 7 and that the final product will include an overview narrative providing a physical description of the pool and a summary of primary response considerations. Faryan added that the next UMR pool to be addressed in this effort is Pool 13 and that work in this pool would commence in the spring of 2010.
Lauder asked whether response
strategies had been developed in the
Faryan noted that, in scoping future response strategy work, it may be possible to complete field work for two UMR pools in one day.
Morrison added the Pool 7 work will include the development of a simplified incident action plan (IAP) to accompany the response strategies and other materials. Stokes suggested that perhaps the IAP could address some of the variables that might affect response on Pool 7, such as currents and weather conditions.
Agency and Other Updates
Lauder reported that IL EPA
is aware of approximately 240 incidents per month, both large and small. He also noted that the “Biowatch” program in
Morrison noted that MPCA is continuing to put many staff through ICS training, as staff in a variety of program areas may be called on to participate in a situation where ICS is being employed. Lauder asked how many MPCA staff were NIMS compliant and what the targets were for ICS training in the agency. Morrison indicated that 10 MPCA staff were fully NIMS compliant and that currently approximately 100 staff had completed ICS 100 and 700. He added that the agency’s target is to eventually have 300 staff completing ICS 100, 700, and 800.
Tucker reported that budget
cuts were a dominant theme at Iowa
Gann noted that departures
have been impacting Missouri
US EPA Region 5
Faryan said that the newly
updated Region 5 RCP/ACP would be discussed in further detail the next day, so
that he would focus on other Region 5 items in his report. He commented that the update of Region 5’s
Inland Sensitivity Atlas was nearly complete for
Lauder asked whether Faryan
had any further information available regarding a proposed Region 5 Homeland
Security Summit. Faryan and Lee
indicated that they did not have any information regarding this event. Faryan did note that the upcoming Region 5 RRT
meeting would be taking place in
US EPA Region 7
Jim Silver reported that the
Region 7 RRT meeting would be taking place in
Frank Catalano noted that
The meeting adjourned for the day at 5:00 p.m. and reconvened at 8:00 a.m. on October 7, 2009.
Faryan distributed a summary
of UMR-related spill reports to the National Response Center (NRC) for the
period of April 26-September 26, 2009.
The distribution of the report led to a brief discussion of how states
receive reports from the NRC. Gann
indicated that reports are emailed from the NRC to one address at Missouri DNR,
and that initial email is subsequently distributed to DNR staff. Lauder reported that, in
Elizabeth Komiskey commented that rules to be proposed in the spring would require pipeline companies regulated by the PHMSA to correct volumes reported to the NRC. Tucker asked if there would be an enforcement component associated with this. Komiskey replied that she was not sure if there was an associated enforcement component. Lee asked if the proposal would include language addressing the timing of an update. Komiskey indicated that the timing would be “as soon as realized.” Morrison asked if a report would be re-distributed once the new volume information was provided. Komiskey indicated that this should be the case, but it would be distributed as an update, rather than as a new report.
UMR Response Training
Tucker provided a summary of
the response training that had taken place in LaCrosse,
Lauder asked what made this recent training event different or better than other training events. Tucker responded that the addition of the safe boating component had been beneficial. Morrison answered that he felt that discussion of ice response was helpful and important. Tucker added that strong local and industry connections and representation were critical to the success of the workshop.
Reflecting on previous
discussions with the Iowa-Minnesota-Wisconsin Tri-State Hazmat Group, Tucker
indicated that possibly the next likely location for training would be
Spill Containment Equipment List
The Group discussed the need to update the spill containment equipment list included in the UMR Spill Response Plan and Resource manual, with both Faryan and Silver commenting that the list needed to be updated. Morrison, Stokes and Kendzierski all indicated a willingness to work on the updating of equipment information in the Minnesota/Wisconsin portion of the UMR, with Stokes noting that a better definition of the “other equipment” category on the list would be helpful. Lauder commented that local EMAs should be considered in the development of response equipment lists.
Compilation of UMR-Relevant Response Techniques
The Group indicated that any list of UMR-relevant response techniques would need to be linked to RCP/ACPs and to applicable tactics manuals. Faryan suggested that a page or two in the UMR Plan, with appropriate links, should be sufficient.
Potential Region 5 RRT Approval of Solidifiers
Lee indicated that language dealing with the approval of solidifiers would be coming before the Region 5 RRT when it met later in October. Silver asked whether this meant there might be potential pre-approval of solidifiers. Lee indicated that she would share the language coming before the RRT with the Spills Group. Lauder commented that a similar request came before Illinois EPA, but that no action had been taken.
McCaskey reported that USCG
is interested in the possibility for inclusion of language addressing
volunteers in sub area and other contingency plans. He noted that some suggested language for
such a section was available in the USCG District 13 plan and could be provided
to the Group. Ramon Mendoza said that
this issue had also been discussed in the Quad Cities Sub Area Planning
Committee meeting. Haden concurred and
added that re-formatted language would be incorporated in the
Area Maritime Security Committees
Angelle reported on his work with Area Maritime Security Committees and his efforts in the Quad Cities in particular. He added that port security grants provide a potential avenue for the purchase of equipment related to security and potentially to response efforts. Angelle additionally provided a brief description of the Joint River Operations Center (JROC) located in the Twin Cities. Lee asked who is eligible to apply for port security grants. Angelle replied that in Kansas City, the Twin Cities, and St. Louis the applications come through the Area Maritime Security Committee, but that the Quad Cities is considered an “all other” port and in this case the application does not have to come from the committee. However, he noted that DHS will definitely consider who is working together in an area when an application is received.
Angelle indicated that USCG is trying a new approach in organizing a committee for the Quad Cities and is seeking to identify 10 to 12 individuals to participate in a two to three meetings per year. He added that USCG is placing emphasis on identifying local individuals for participation. Haden asked whether representation from areas surrounding the Quad Cities was being sought. Angelle replied that participation by individuals from surrounding areas was welcome, but that the meetings would be held in the Quad Cities. Lee commented that the availability of grants would be a strong driver for participation and that Angelle should emphasize this in his work to promote the committee. Angelle noted that one of the areas of emphasis in the grants was to support the on-water capability of local fire departments.
UMR Notification Drill
Rick Gann expressed interest in having a notification drill before the next meeting of the Group that would affect states further south than other recent UMR notification drills. Gann and Lauder indicated they would work on the development and execution of a UMR notification drill.
Pipelines/UMR Pipeline Crossings
PHMSA Pipeline Programs Overview
Elizabeth Komiskey of the
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Central Region
Community Action and Technical Services (
§ PHMSA Overview
§ Pipeline Inspections
§ National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS), including the use of online pipeline mapping tools available at: www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov
§ Spill Response Plans
§ Public Awareness Program Requirements
§ PHMSA’s Role in a Pipeline Incident
Following her presentation, Komiskey asked if there were any questions from the Group. Haden asked what the process was for updating plans when the ownership of a pipeline changed. Komiskey replied that the plan stays in place with the new owners updating information as needed. She added that it is the owner’s responsibility to make sure the plan is updated. Komiskey added that the plans must include drill procedures and that plans are available upon request. Lee asked whether these plans are typically in paper or electronic formats. Komiskey replied that plans were in both paper and electronic formats, though the paper plans can become quite sizeable.
Komiskey briefly reviewed public awareness requirements for pipelines and emphasized that one of the main goals of these requirements is to reduce third-party damages. Morrison asked whether a pipeline company would need to contact the appropriate state’s “one-call” line before they began work on their own pipelines. Komiskey replied that this notification would be needed.
Komiskey encouraged the
members of the Group to be engaged in pipeline issues and offered PHMSA’s
assistance to the Group members. She
added that although PHMSA does not have jurisdiction once a spill occurs, they are
willing to provide support and information during a response. She indicated that both she and Harold Winnie
Angelle asked if PHMSA had a
security division. Komiskey replied the
PHMSA has individuals engaged in engineering and security. Tucker commented on
the engagement of Iowa
Faryan asked if there are any
requirements which require shutoffs to be placed in a certain proximity to a
river such as the
Morrison asked whether
pipeline plans typically contain recommendations on the specifics of
response. Komiskey replied that plans
are usually not that specific. Faryan
asked whether PHMSA/DOT had any jurisdiction over underground storage. Komiskey
replied that her agency did not deal with underground storage.
Jurisdiction at Complex Facilities
Building on Komiskey’s information, Lee next gave a short presentation on jurisdictional issues at complex facilities where US EPA and US DOT, as well as USCG, may be involved. Komiskey encouraged joint inspections at complex facilities, with all regulating entities involved.
Area and Sub Area Planning Updates
Haden provided a brief update
on the Quad Cities sub area and Jaci Ferguson provided details on efforts to
establish at “Bootheel” sub area which would reach from the
Lee indicated that a letter of promulgation for the Region 5 RCP/ACP was being targeted for signature at the upcoming Region 5 RRT meeting. She then walked through the new online Region 5 RCP/ACP.
Hokanson listed the following action items that had been identified by the group during their discussions:
The Group agreed that its
next meeting should take place in LaCrosse,
The meeting of the UMR Hazardous Spills Coordination Group was adjourned 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 7, 2009.