Upper Mississippi River Hazardous Spills Coordination Group Meeting

October 5-6, 2010

Davenport, Iowa

 

DRAFT Meeting Summary

 

 

 

Participants

Roger Lauder

Illinois EPA

Rodney Tucker

Iowa DNR/USCG

Dave Morrison

Minnesota PCA

Mark Marcy1

Minnesota DPS, HSEM

Rick Gann1

Missouri DNR

Tom Kendzierski1

Wisconsin DNR

Lynette Gandl

USACE, St. Paul District

John Punkiewicz

USACE, Rock Island District

Bryan Klostermeyer

USCG, Sector UMR

Shannon McGregor

USCG, Sector UMR

Kody Stitz

USCG, MSD Quad Cities

Harold Winnie

US DOT, Office of Pipeline Safety

Steve Faryan

US EPA, Region 5

Ramon Mendoza

US EPA, Region 5

Jaci Ferguson

US EPA, Region 7

Mike Coffey

US FWS

Bob Baumgartner

TransCanada

Chris Bieller

Seneca Companies/MABAS 39

Randi Stahl

McKinzie Environmental

Sanhita Chattopadhyay2

UMRBA

Mark Ellis2

UMRBA

Dave Hokanson

UMRBA

1 = By telephone, both days.

2 = By telephone, 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 12:35 p.m. by Chair Roger Lauder.  Introductions of all in attendance followed.

 

Spill Response Case Studies, Part 1: Deepwater Horizon Spill

Response and Shoreline Protection

Rodney Tucker gave a presentation regarding response operations in general and shoreline protection in particular.  He described the response organization and role of federal on scene coordinator representatives (FOSCRs).  Tucker displayed visuals of response staging areas and described the goals of shoreline protection in the response as follows:

§         Main goal - Protect potentially impacted shoreline (marsh islands).

§         Deploy containment and absorbent boom to these shoreline areas.

§         Prevent product from migrating into other areas.

§         Contain product and conduct appropriate shoreline cleanup efforts to recover product to the greatest extent possible.

§         Monitor air quality in impacted areas.

§         Conduct impacted wildlife search and rescue operations.

 

Tucker described some of the challenges encountered in boom deployment and maintenance, including difficulty in calculating length of boom needed (often estimates needed to be doubled), hot and stormy weather, strong current, and removal/theft of boom after its deployment.   He also mentioned that in some cases boom was staged and deployed so that it could be temporarily moved to allow for vessels to pass and then pulled back into place. 

 

Lynette Gandl asked how boom was anchored and at what depth.  Tucker responded that heavy anchors were used, but even these were sometimes pulled out during storms.  In regard to depth, he commented that in the Chandeleur Islands area, depths were 12 to 15 feet.  Tucker also said that the deployment of a “boom wall” was the longest known continuous boom system ever deployed. 

 

In closing, Tucker commented that each individual involved in the response had a different experience and his presentation reflected primarily his experience in the effort.

 

Wildlife Reconnaissance and Recovery Operations

Mike Coffey next gave a presentation addressing wildlife reconnaissance and recovery operations in the Deepwater Horizon response.  Coffey gave a chronology of US FWS’ engagement in the response and described the organization of the response.  He described in detail the role of US FWS’ Reconnaissance and Recovery Teams.  Coffey noted that, in particular, National Wildlife Refuge lands were an area of interest for US FWS and that US FWS staff had a critical role in cataloging losses to facilitate the calculation of damages. 

 

Coffey gave the following summary information regarding the spill and response, which were estimates current as of the meeting:

§         Vessels involved                  5,059

§         Boom deployed                   2.3 million feet

§         Oil recovered                      34.7 million gallons

§         Oil burned                           11.1 million gallons

§         Dispersants used                 1.8 million gallons

§         Personnel engaged              29,705

§         Number live oiled birds        2,070   

§         Number dead oiled birds      2,238

§         Birds released                     1,208

 

Dave Hokanson asked who the deployed boom belonged to.  Coffey and Tucker replied that it belonged to anyone and everyone involved in response, including significant amounts of newly manufactured boom.  They added that much of the boom deployed may never make it back to its original owner.  Jaci Ferguson asked whether there are still wildlife under care as part of the response.  Coffey responded that there are still wildlife under care.

 

FOSCR/Cleanup Management Team Activities

Ramon Mendoza gave a presentation summarizing his experience from a US EPA perspective in managing cleanup as well as in working with USCG in the Jackson County, Mississippi area.   He described US EPA’s objectives in this capacity as follows:

§         Support USCG’s mission to oversee BP contractor shoreline cleanups.

 

§         Work with USCG personnel to improve contractor oversight procedures to be more consistent with the National Contingency Plan.

 

Mendoza gave an overview of the daily routine of cleanup operations and of the toolkit/safety gear employed by the FOSCRs.  He also described the health and safety issues encountered by the FOSCRs as including:

§         Heat stress

§         Heat stroke

§         Driving (in good/adverse weather)

§         Boat operations (in good/adverse weather)

§         Ticks/insect bites

§         Poisonous snakes and alligators

 

Mendoza also commented that the oil encountered in this location was different than what had been shown in the two preceding presentations, in that the oil in this area was more weathered and often formed as tar balls.  He said that the use of dispersants may have encouraged the formation of tar balls.

 

Dave Morrison asked how long a cleanup crew would typically work.  Mendoza replied that crews typically worked all day, including transportation time.  Roger Lauder asked how tar balls were recovered in open water.  Mendoza replied that this was done by specialized crews and that absorbent boom was employed.   Steve Faryan added that dip net-like apparatus were also employed in this effort.

 

Hokanson asked whether each cleanup crew was specialized to perform just one type of task.  Mendoza replied that this was the case and that a more highly trained individual typically supervised a crew dedicated to one particular function. 

 

Mendoza reiterated that the biggest issue in cleanup was heat stress and heat stroke.  He added that a checklist was developed for operations staff to used in contractor oversight, which was a modified 214 form. 

 

Tom Kendzierski asked whether the presentations from this segment regarding the Deepwater Horizon spill could be made available to all the Group members.  Hokanson replied that he would check with the presenters to get their approval to distribute the presentations.

 

Spill Response Case Studies, Part 2: Marshall, Michigan/Kalamazoo River Spill

Incident and Response Overview

Faryan gave a description of the pipeline leak that took place near Marshall, Michigan and released spilled product into the Kalamazoo River.  His discussion was supported by a series of photos illustrating the response to this spill. 

 

Faryan said that the product released was crude oil, which led to a number of issues regarding benzene, requiring the use of respirators in some cases.  He added that, initially, the incident was reported as a natural gas release since a natural gas pipeline also runs nearby.  Faryan said that a weld failure apparently contributed to the leak, but that the pipeline was now back in service after having been closed for nearly two months.

 

Faryan described how product was released into Talmedge Creek and then traveled into the Kalamazoo River, and how divisions were created in the response, each addressing a different segment of the creek and river.  He said that the scale of the response was extremely large and included the use of over 300 frac tanks, a swamp mat road, and extensive excavation.  Faryan also detailed the use of some innovative techniques in response including boulder dams and the dredging and aeration of submerged oil. 

 

Coffey asked Faryan to describe the process of aeration to remove submerged oil.  Faryan said that aeration was conducted at the bottom of the river to push product up to the surface.  Once it had come to the surface, he continued, it could then be captured.  Faryan cautioned, however, that an area must be contained before aeration is conducted to float the oil.  He also described the use of caged baskets containing sorbent materials as a method of trapping and collecting submerged oil.

 

Faryan said that, because of challenges in access, some materials had to be dropped in by helicopter.  Lauder asked how far materials needed to air transported.  Faryan replied that it was about a mile in distance.  Faryan noted that, at the current time, most areas of have been cleared of visible oil, though work by state resource management staff and US FWS is ongoing. 

 

Ferguson asked whether there will be a compilation of techniques used and lessons learned for this response.  Faryan replied that there will be a hotwash with USCG and that there is indeed much to be assembled and documented regarding this response.  Mendoza commented that the training facilitated the UMR Spills Group really helped prepare him and others for this response.  Faryan concurred and said that it is important to continue training so that individuals are prepared for these kinds of incidents.

 

Morrison asked how the swamp mat road was constructed.  Faryan said it was constructed by Minnesota Limited, Inc. and essentially was a plank road built out of railroad ties.  He added that contaminated ties were subsequently shredded and disposed, but clean ties were kept.  Mendoza concurred that contaminated ties could not be decontaminated and therefore had to be chipped and disposed of accordingly.  Faryan said that pipeline companies are familiar with the use of swamp mats, as it is a technique used in pipeline construction. 

 

Faryan said that he would work to compile lessons learned as part of the hotwash following the completion of the cleanup.   He noted that this was the first time that US EPA Region 5 had ordered cleanup for submerged oil.  Faryan also said that safety had been a high priority throughout the response and that there had been no lost time due to injury.  Ferguson asked if it would be possible to try out some of the techniques used in this response during a training event.   Faryan said that a great amount of knowledge had been gained during a short period of time during the event.  Lauder asked who was compiling the lessons learned from the event.  Faryan said that both US EPA and USCG were compiling the lessons learned.

 

Bob Baumgartner asked if an accelerated cleanup schedule would apply in this case.  Faryan said that US EPA had issued a Clean Water Act Section 311 order with timelines built in.  He estimated that the cleanup would cost about $400 million.  Faryan added that there is also a supplemental order requiring the cleanup of submerged oil and that the both the cleanup broadly, and the cleanup of submerged oil, were on accelerated schedules.  Morrison asked whether the use of a CWA 311 order was common.  Faryan replied that this is employed frequently.  He reiterated that the new element of the cleanup was the requirement to address submerged oil. 

 

Wildlife Reconnaissance and Recovery Operations

Coffey presented a summary of the Wildlife Reconnaissance and Recovery Operations associated with the Marshall, Michigan spill.   He said that many of the lessons learned in the Deepwater Horizon gulf spill were applied directly for the Marshall, Michigan incident.   

Coffey said that one of the challenges in the response was working with volunteers.  He stated that public affairs efforts did help on this front in providing information and hotlines, but that there were still cases of individuals handling oiled wildlife without training and other case where individuals were not acting safely.  Coffey added that, because of the relatively urban setting, there was a lot of contact between the public and oil wildlife, and geese and turtles in particular. 

Coffey stated that a number of hazing operations, employing a variety of techniques, were used in an effort to move birds out of affected areas.  Additionally, he said that wildlife capture techniques were used to catch, treat, and move wildlife.   Faryan commented that over 2000 animals were captured and released in the response.  Coffey again credited hotlines as providing a way for the public to report the presence of oiled wildlife.   He also said that many of the responders working in Michigan ended up going next to work on the pipeline release in Romeoville, Illinois.

 

UMR Spill Plan and Related Topics

UMR Emergency Action Field Guide

Hokanson said that the number of existing laminated copies of the UMR Emergency Action Field Guide is very limited.  He asked Faryan whether US EPA would have the ability to reproduce the Guide, and he asked the Group whether there are any updates to the contact numbers on the guide.  Faryan said that US EPA could make a couple hundred laminated copies.  No updates to contact numbers were offered by the Group. 

 

Notification Methods and Notification Drills

Hokanson reminded the Group that at their previous meeting interest had been expressed in potentially “modernizing” the notification protocol in the UMR Spill Plan by incorporating methods of notification such as email.  He asked the Group to consider and discuss any modification they would like to see to the notification process.

 

Faryan asked whether any agencies still used fax machines.  Responses from the Group indicated that while use of fax machines was limited in agencies, they still represented a “backup” means of communication in some instances.  Gandl commented that it was possible for voice mails to be forwarded to email accounts.  Morrison mentioned that the River Alert Network currently maintained by the Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee (UMRCC) could be used as a supplement to the UMR Plan’s notification protocol.  Morrison proposed the following hierarchy for notification: 1) phone (always first method), 2) email, and 3) fax. 

 

Lauder asked Morrison who he typically calls in an incident.  Morrison replied that he notifies all affected agencies.  Lauder commented that he will often notify Missouri in the case of incidents that have a potential to move downstream.  He continued by suggesting that an email list be developed that could also be used for notification purposes.  Tucker commented that while email notification is helpful, that phone notification remains the most important part of the notification protocol. 

 

Hokanson offered some details about the existing River Alert Network email system, saying that it did have recipients river-wide but that its participant list is much broader than the spill response community, as it also has a natural resource management focus. 

 

Harold Winnie said that one of the lessons learned in the Marshall, Michigan pipeline spill is that NRC notification does not necessarily cover all of the notification needed in an incident.  Faryan commented that previous discussions in the Group have sought to build awareness and facilitate receipt of NRC reports by affected agencies.   He also mentioned, as an example, that Florida has its own intrastate notification system.  Winnie said that the issue is typically pushing out notification to all the potentially affected agencies and entities. 

Hokanson emphasized that the UMR Spills Plan protocol already speaks to the issue of internal notifications within a state, but that the current discussion is really focused on the tools by which notifications are made.  Morrison replied that the current protocol, however, does not provide a detailed description of the notification of non-state agencies. 

 

Tucker suggested that an email notification list be developed that would be available for common use by the group.   He asked Hokanson whether it would be possible for UMRBA to develop such a list.  Hokanson said that this may be possible and that he would work with other UMRBA staff on this.  Tucker again emphasized that any email notification system should be viewed as a supplement to phone notification and not a substitute for it.  Rick Gann commented that one benefit of email notification is that it is easy to redirect as needed. 

 

Winnie observed that it is important to emphasize NRC notification as the first notification to be made, and that the protocol should be clear about this.  Faryan suggested that Web EOC should be mentioned in the protocol as this is a location that allows access to NRC reports.  Gandl asked whether all NRC notification were done via fax.  Lauder replied that agencies can subscribe to the NRC in a way that results in phone calls being made.  

 

Hokanson asked the Group whether the current protocol should be largely kept in place but augmented with a supplemental email system and modified as needed in light of the Group’s discussion.  The Group agreed that this was the direction they would like to pursue. 

 

Shannon McGregor and Kody Stitz commented that NRC notification works well for USCG, US EPA and other federal agencies, but that there is a limit to what can be done with direct NRC notification.  McGregor said that there is certainly a need for initial recipients to continue notification to other agencies and entities that may be impacted by an incident.  Stitz concurred, emphasizing that it is important for all agencies to consider whether a not an incident affects their jurisdiction and what other entities need to be notified. 

 

Lauder suggested that a modified notification system be tested via a notification drill.  Ferguson observed that the feedback loop facilitated by email notification is beneficial.  Gann said that he has identified a facility interested in participating in a drill.  He also said that Missouri has a system in place for internal distribution of email notifications, and that this has been a highly effective tool within the agency.  Faryan again mentioned that Web EOC is a good tool to supplement interagency notification.

 

Tucker asked how the NRC addresses cross-border issues when an incident falls on the border between jurisdictions.  Mendoza said that, in regard to US EPA, the NRC has discretion as to which US EPA region is notified.  He added that perhaps a request could be made to NRC to notify both regions in cases of incidents on the UMR.  McGregor said that an email option might be available for NRC notifications.  Faryan replied that this is only available to paying parties at present.

 

UMR Response Equipment Inventory

Morrison reported that Matt Stokes is working with USCG on a calling process to update the UMR response equipment list.  He said that Stokes plans to have the calling process completed in the next few weeks.  Morrison said that once the list is updated it will be of value in identifying areas where equipment is not available and informing conversations regarding the allocation of resources.  Coffey asked whether the update would add any types of information to what is currently available.  Lauder said that more information about the type, size, and length of boom available would be helpful.  Morrison said that the work would proceed primarily from the existing list.  Stitz said that USCG in the Quad Cities could potentially help with this effort. 

 

McGregor commented that care and maintenance is often the biggest challenge with response equipment.  Chris Bieller said that MABAS had submitted letters to acquire response trailers from USCG, but that they had been informed that the trailers had been allocated elsewhere.  Tucker said that the Davenport Fire Department had one of the response trailers.  Faryan commented that, after the Gulf spill, there may be lots of boom available. 

 

Engaging Barge Industry/Barge Operators

Morrison suggested that there is benefit to engaging the barge industry and barge operators in conversations regarding UMR spill response.  Lauder agreed, observing that the recent St. Louis industry day brought in barge operators.  Morrison asked whether there was a single entity that could be contacted to communicate with the barge industry.  Stitz suggested that American Waterways Operators (AWO) could be contacted.  Hokanson said that he would also ask within UMRBA regarding contact point(s). 

 

Ethanol Issues

Faryan reminded the Group that US EPA has response booklets available for ethanol and biodiesel.  Bieller said that ethanol facilities are showing an increasing understanding of the need to plan for response.  However, he added that one issue is the need to control large volumes of release on site, by mechanisms including sluice gates and retention ponds.  Bieller continued, saying that ethanol plants’ reliance on OSROs really isn’t realistic.  He said that the ethanol industry is frustrated by a lack of guidance and that they are being told to have OSRO capability.  Bieller asked whether US EPA could help address this and clarify what is required for these facilities. 

 

Faryan said that only the denatured product falls under FRP requirements, and that there must be 50,000 gallons to trigger requirements.  Bieller replied that many facilities do have this volume, as they are large production facilities.  Ferguson commented that outreach to ethanol facilities may be needed.

 

Hokanson said that the Group would be shown a video of an aeration technique to address ethanol spills the following day.  He distributed a handout describing this technique, which is an excerpt from the tactics manual that is included with the Inland Sensitivity Atlas.  Hokanson asked whether the Group was interested in reviewing the contents of this tactics manual.  McGregor asked whether the manual could be posted on the UMRBA website.  Hokanson replied that this could likely be done. 

 

Agency (and Organization) Updates

Agency and organization representatives were offered the opportunity to provide updates regarding recent events and activities. The following reports were given:

 

US EPA Region 7

Ferguson noted an upcoming meeting to be held on November 4 in Cape Girardeau regarding mapping and planning in the “Bootheel” area.   She also said that a joint Region 5/Region 7 RRT meeting was to be held in St. Louis November 16-18, 2010. 

 

US EPA Region 5

Mendoza said that the response to the Romeoville, Illinois pipeline release should be wrapped up by the end of the month (October).  He also said that activities related to the Marshall, Michigan pipeline release were likely to extend into the winter. 

 

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Morrison reported that the Red Wing CAER group continues to make progress, having recently held a river-focused event which included some exercises.  He said that this group also continues to work on administrative issues. 

 

Morrison said that recent flooding in southeast Minnesota had led to a wastewater treatment plant failure and that two cities had been completed flooded out, which had resulted in numerous floating tanks.  He said that Minnesota was awaiting a FEMA declaration in response to these floods.   Mendoza asked if a declaration was expected as soon as the following week.   Morrison clarified that the expected declaration was a Presidential declaration which would open up funding options.   Mendoza asked whether a declaration was expected for affected areas of Wisconsin.  Tom Kendzierski responded that a declaration could be forthcoming, but that he had not heard any specifics. 

 

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Kendzierski said that flooding had also affected several areas in Wisconsin, including communities along the Wisconsin River.  He added that paper mills located along the river had also been flooded.

 

Kendzierski said that some “phantom sheens” had also been reported on the Mississippi River.  He reported that Wisconsin is in the process of renewal for state contractors and that this renewal may include contractors located in Minnesota, which may have some relevance for response on the UMR. 

 

TransCanada

Baumgartner began his comments by providing background on TransCanada’s pipeline, which runs from Canada, through the Dakotas and crosses the UMR at Hartford, Illinois.  He said that TransCanada conducts regular exercises along the length of the pipeline which have included a recent exercises at Highland, Illinois and Yankton, South Dakota.   Baumgartner said that TransCanada is also seeking to do a tabletop exercise in Nebraska in the near future.  Ferguson asked whether TransCanada would like to have US EPA Region 7 participation in its exercise.  Baumgartner said that such participation would be welcome.  Winnie indicated that his agency would also like to coordinate more closely with TransCanada.

 

Lauder asked what products are typically run through TransCanada’s pipeline.  Baumgartner responded that it is primarily crude oil of varying types and that it is Canadian oil sands crude.  Faryan asked whether TransCanada had any response equipment stationed at terminals.  Baumgartner replied that while TransCanada did not have any terminal, it did have equipment staged along the pipeline in response trailers. 

 

USACE – St. Paul District

Gandl said that there were no recent spills to report, and that flooding had been major concern.  Mendoza asked if ESF # 3 support would be needed if a disaster declaration was made.  Gandl said she was not sure if this would be needed.

 

USACE- Rock Island District

John Punkiewicz said that high water issues are the predominant concern at this time in the Rock Island District.  He also reminded the Group that “Cold Water Boot Camp” training videos are available.  Lauder asked how copies of this can be obtained.  Punkiewicz said he would bring a sign-up sheet to the meeting the following day to allow individuals to request copies.

 

Illinois EPA
Lauder said that the Romeoville pipeline release was the predominant recent event in Illinois and that there will likely be long-term issues to deal with as a result of the spill.  He added that Illinois EPA is also preparing for the upcoming New Madrid National Level Exercise (NLE).  Additionally, Lauder noted upcoming training regarding anhydrous ammonia. 

 

Iowa DNR

Tucker said that Iowa DNR’s director had recently resigned to take a position with US FWS.  He added that it appeared likely that there would be new administration in Iowa in 2011, which would likely also include a new DNR director. 

 

Tucker reported that a current issue facing Iowa DNR is the removal of mercury from a site in Dubuque.  He also said that flooding has been a predominant concern, with Presidential declarations having been made for many counties.  Tucker said that US EPA Region 7 has done ESF # 10 support for the flooding, but that fortunately there have not been nearly the number of hazmat concerns as were associated with the 2008 floods. 

 

US EPA Region 5

Hokanson distributed the summary of NRC-reported UMR spills that Faryan had created.   Faryan noted that this list summarized all spills having taken place since the last meeting of the UMR Spills Group in April 2010.  Morrison commented that Minnesota is seeing a number of very small spills being reported.  Punkiewicz concurred that many small events are being reported.

 

US Coast Guard

Bryan Klostermeyer noted a recent sunken tug in the St. Louis area containing 2100 gallons of fuel, but emphasized that the fuel had not been released.

 

Upcoming Training and Outreach

Ferguson said that the November 4 meeting in Cape Girardeau will examine planning and mapping possibilities for the “Bootheel” area.  She offered to provide further information to any members of the Group who were interested in this meeting.  Ferguson noted that meeting may act a precursor to sub-area planning for the Bootheel.

 

Lauder commented on Illinois-based training activities, noting that efforts are being made to draw in community response organizations, including townships, who may have equipment that can be used in response.  In particular, he noted an upcoming training event to be held in Peoria.

 

Ferguson reported that the Quad Cities Sub-Area Committee had expressed interest in doing a tabletop exercise to examine the availability of response resources.   Bieller added that the Sub-Area Committee planned to work with the local response co-op and local planning and fire departments regarding the tabletop.  He said that the committee is looking for any volunteers to plan and/or participate in the exercise. 

 

Tucker said that there may be limitations on US EPA Region 7’s ability to support training sessions as had been done in recent years.  Lauder also noted the states’ resources to support training are fairly limited at this time.  Recognizing these constraints, the Group did not express an interest in planning for any UMR-focused training in the near term.

 

The meeting adjourned for the day at 5:30 p.m. and resumed at 8 a.m. on October 6, 2010. 

 

Wrap-Up of Day 1

Several items from the meeting’s first day were revisited by the Group, as described below:

Agency Update- Missouri DNR

Gann gave a brief agency report on behalf of Missouri DNR, as he had not been able to do so the previous day.  He said that there had been no recent incidents in Missouri affecting the UMR and added that the spill response training done in April 2010 in St. Louis had been very successful. 

 

Working with Barge Industry, Barge-Carried Products

Morrison suggested revisiting the list of barge-transported commodities in the UMR Spill Plan to update this information.  Punkiewicz concurred that updating this section would be beneficial.  Hokanson indicated that this area of the plan could be prioritized for updating. 

 

Air-Sparging Technique for Ethanol Spills

In follow up to the preceding day’s discussion, Randi Stahl presented a video demonstrating the use of a device utilizing compressed air pushed through a “soaker” hose that is intended to introduce oxygen into water in cases of an ethanol spill.   Stahl said that the equipment had been deployed with mixed success in a marshy area.   Faryan added that a good amount of water depth is needed to improve results.  

 

Lauder asked whether this equipment has been tried on a large scale.  Coffey replied that this had not yet been attempted, but that the intent of introducing oxygen in this way might be to provide refugia for aquatic organisms, rather than restoring oxygen levels throughout a waterbody.  Faryan concurred, added that a combination of product containment and aeration could potentially be successful.   Coffey suggested that a potential field test would be to have dissolved oxygen meters deployed along with the air sparging equipment to determine the effect on oxygen levels.  Coffey added that one possibility for effective response might be to pre-stage this type of equipment at ethanol plants.

 

UMR Refuge Contingency Planning

Pools 7 and 13: Status and Product Demonstration

Hokanson gave a brief update on the status of refuge planning work, indicating that work on the Pool 7 geographic response CD was complete while activities continue to develop similar materials for Pool 13.  He demonstrated the final Pool 7 CD and circulated a map of the proposed response strategy locations for Pool 13.

 

Pool l3 Incident Action Plan

Stahl and Morrison both requested that incident action plan (IAP) forms included with refuge planning tools be made available in both fill-able PDF and Word format files.

 

Coffey offered a number of comments on the draft Pool 13 IAP from the perspective of the US FWS.  He said that US FWS staff can become an asset for spill response and that the refuge planning effort should seek to take advantage of this and help US FWS, as well as other agencies, work most efficiently during an incident.  Coffey added that the IAP’s 204 form could function as a way to educate US FWS staff and other responders about ways to utilize existing resources.  For example, he thought that US FWS staff might be able to drag out boom to protect sensitive resources if they were provided enough direction on this in the planning documentation.  He said that he is offering specific comments on the Pool 13 IAP with these general ideas in mind.  Coffey added that he’d like to see the 204 form look more like marching orders for the day and would add off-hours contact information to the planning materials. 

 

Ferguson asked whether there is an intent to exercise the refuge planning materials.  Coffey said that this was envisioned, along with further engagement with local entities and responders.  Stahl asked whether the planning materials are envisioned as a job aid.  Coffey replied that the intent was not so much to provide a job aid, as to provide an assignment list. 

 

Lauder said that Illinois EPA had an ability to access funds when a responsibility party could not be identified.  He asked Coffey whether US FWS had any similar capacity.  Coffey replied that he did not know, but in that type of situation, he would likely seek to access the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.  Lauder clarified that his primary interest was in finding a way to reimburse local entities/responders.  Faryan said that a third-party reimbursement mechanism is available to do this.  Coffey concurred and said that US FWS refuge managers have these types of tools available as well. 

 

Coffey emphasized that, because of staff turnover, it is important to have ongoing documentation for use over time.  Stahl said it would be important to have a list of response resources available.  Additionally, the Group expressed an interest in future response strategies documentation following the general format presented in the Pool 7 CD.

 

 

 

Mussel Recovery Efforts and Contingency Plans

Coffey gave a brief presentation regarding the relationship between mussel recovery efforts and spill contingency plans.  This presentation included background on the mussel life cycle, species diversity, and endangered mussels found on the UMR.  Coffey further described how the establishment of spill contingency plans in areas where essential habitat is found can help fulfill one of the goals of a mussel species’ recovery plan.  He explained that a recovery plan is how FWS communicates to the public the steps that will be taken to move a species from endangered to non-endangered.  Coffey emphasized that the response community can aid this process by developing response plans in essential habitat areas.

 

Faryan asked whether any artificial rearing of mussels was taking place on the UMR.  Coffey responded that some of this was being done at hatcheries along the UMR, and that some of the funding support for this activity comes from USACE. 

 

Morrison asked what pollutants most affect mussels.  Coffey responded that mussels are sensitive to salt, ammonia, and other contaminants that mix/dissolve in the water column.  He noted that in the Guttenberg derailment incident, an emergency removal of mussels could have been done to move them out of the way of the incident and accompanying ramp construction, as the necessary “mussel moving” infrastructure is available on the UMR.  Baumgartner asked whether the rail company had understood the presence of the mussels in carrying out their response.  Coffey replied that this had been understood in general terms, but not necessarily in the specifics of where the mussels actually were.  Baumgartner asked whether the bed had not been mapped or whether information had simply not been communicated.   Coffey replied that both were likely the case and that responders had been pulled many directions at the time, as the incident occurred during widespread flooding.  Baumgartner responded that it appears at least part of the issue is sharing sensitive information with industry and having detailed information available to local responders.

 

McGregor observed the greatest success occurs when sensitive resource information is integrated into a facility’s response plan (FRP).   Stahl commented this is also important to establish in local response plans.

 

Observations from Ice Response Workshop

Lauder reported that he and George Krebs of Illinois EPA had recently attended a workshop in Cleveland sponsored by USCG focused on ice response.  He indicated that this appeared to be the first in a likely series of workshops to address the topic.  Lauder commented that a variety of techniques for ice response were presented, although a number of questions remained for him about ice response.   He suggested that ice response be a potential future presentation topic for the UMR Spills Group.   McGregor suggested connecting with NOAA SSC Liz Jones as a possible followup step.

 

2011 New Madrid National Level Exercise

Ferguson gave a presentation addressing the upcoming 2011 New Madrid National Level Exercise (NLE).   She described in detail the predicted impacts from a New Madrid earthquake and discussed the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) goals for the exercise.  Ferguson said that a Resource Management Workshop associated with exercise planning was scheduled for November 30-December 3, 2010 in Nashville and that, within US EPA, a multi-region group would be looking at potential agency goals for the exercise. 

 

Tucker asked why another New Madrid-focused exercise was being pursued so soon after the SONS 2007 exercise, which also was built around a New Madrid earthquake scenario.   Stahl replied that there was a lot of unfinished business which was not fully addressed in SONS 2007.  Lauder concurred, explaining that FEMA did not fully participate in SONS 2007 and as result many of the state emergency management agencies were not fully engaged, and so this exercise should give those agencies experience with a New Madrid scenario.  However, he said that the upcoming NLE is unlikely to see the same level of participation from environmental agencies as happened in the SONS 2007 exercise.  Lauder also noted that 2011 is the 200th anniversary of the 1811-1812 New Madrid earthquake.

 

Ferguson concurred with Lauder’s comments and indicated that since the exercise is focused on the first 72 hours of the incident, FEMA’s perspective is that there is not much role for an environmental response.  She said that this was part of the reason that US EPA is looking at having its own internal exercise building off the NLE and incorporating environmental elements.

 

Ferguson asked Baumgartner whether the pipeline industry does exercises to address this kind of catastrophic event.   Baumgartner replied that pipeline industry drills are usually focused on more typical incident scenarios.  Winnie added that most compressors and pump stations have vibration sensors that will trigger an automatic shutdown. 

 

Gandl asked whether pipeline shutoffs were required on each bank of a river.   Winnie replied that shutoffs are required when a pipeline crosses a river more than 100 feet wide, though he noted that these shutoffs may be manual.  Lauder asked Winnie whether such shutoffs are checked regularly.  Winnie replied that they are periodically exercised and/or shut off entirely.  Winnie noted that, on the pipeline map displayed by Ferguson, a new 42 inch east-west running gas pipeline had not been displayed.   

 

Ferguson offered to provide copies of the project reports to any Group members with an interest.  She added that one of the areas the exercise will test is multiple requests for limited resources and noted that US EPA’s goals for an internal exercise would include testing data transfer, EOC management, and communications. 

 

Gandl asked whether any role for USACE was anticipated in the NLE.  Lauder replied that this could be a topic of conversation for the RRT. 

 

Oil Spill Fingerprinting

McGregor began his presentation on oil spill fingerprinting by asking the Group where they typically send oil samples.  Faryan and Coffey replied that their agencies use the Coast Guard Marine Safety Lab (MSL).  McGregor continued by describing the history of the Oil Identification System and the analytical methods used at the MSL.  He continued by discussing the factors that affect the oil “fingerprint” and the effects of weathering in particular.  McGregor provided examples of where oil fingerprinting techniques had been employed.  In regard to oil samples, he emphasized that the following are the most common problems encountered:  1) failure to document chain of custody, 2) poor storage of samples, resulting in weathering and contamination, and 3) not enough sample collected to allow for analysis. 

 

McGregor said that it is best to get samples to the lab as soon as possible, and that light oils are most vulnerable to weathering effects.  He recommended that samples get to the MSL within of couple days of collection.  McGregor also said that, in order to conduct identification, the MSL needs three samples:  1) background, 2) suspected source, and 3) pollution itself.  Faryan cautioned the Group that the product in (suspected source) tanks can change also, which can make identification more difficult.  McGregor said that turnaround time on samples is approximately three days, but can be accelerated. 

 

Ferguson asked if the MSL maintained a database to allow for the identification of samples.  McGregor said he would have to check on this.  (Note:  Per subsequent information from McGregor, the MSL does not have a database to provide for matching to “mystery” samples.  However, multiple samples collected in a single investigation can be compared to each other to determine a “match.”  In addition, the MSL does hold samples in secured, refrigerated storage and has approximately 20,000 samples on hand.)

 

Gandl asked how samples are preserved.  McGregor replied that only temperature is used to preserve samples, and that no other chemicals are used.  Gandl asked what the issue with chain of custody is.  McGregor replied that, from a legal perspective, documenting conditions and chain of custody is critical. 

 

McGregor said that access to use of MSL’s analysis is established via an interagency agreement, which US EPA has in place, adding that other agencies may therefore wish to contact US EPA in regard to sampling.  He continued by saying that if the spill is coming from a vessel,  USCG should be contacted regarding sampling.  Faryan concurred, saying that if the incident is in EPA’s jurisdiction, then EPA will collect and if it is in USCG’s jurisdiction, then they will collect.

 

Stitz emphasized that, for multiple reasons, time is of the essence in collecting and submitting samples.  Faryan added that even if a responsible party is cooperating in an investigation, it is important to keep collecting samples.

 

Area and Sub-Area Planning

Faryan reminded the group that the Region 5 Area Plan had recently been revised and is available online at http://www.rrt5.org/acp.  Stahl said that any revisions needed for the Quad Cities Sub-Area Plan should be communicated to her, adding that the St. Louis Sub-Area Plan had recently been revised and should be largely up to date.  Faryan asked whether the Region 7 Area Plan was being updated.  Ferguson and Stahl said that they would need to check on this. 

 

Other Business

Lauder said that he was interested in determining whether Area Maritime Security Committee funding could support the purchase of early warning monitoring equipment.

 

Gandl asked whether the presentations from the meeting could be made available on the web.  Hokanson said he would get permission from the presenters and then investigate options for web posting. 

 

Next Meeting

The Group was in agreement that their next meeting should take place in late March or early April 2011.  Both the Quad Cities and Dubuque were suggested as possible locations for a next meeting.

 

The meeting adjourned at noon on Wednesday, October 6, 2010.