Minutes of the

Upper Mississippi River

Hazardous Spills Coordination Group Meeting

 

April 17-18, 2002

 

Radisson Quad City Plaza Hotel

Davenport, Iowa

 

 

John Grump of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources called the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m. on April 17, 2002.  The following Spills Group members and observers were present:

 

Jim O’Brien

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

Dave Perry

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Alan Reinkemeyer

Missouri Department of Natural Resources

John Whitaker

Missouri Department of Natural Resources

John Grump

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Theresa Duvall

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

Harvey Dexter

U.S. Coast Guard, Eighth District

David Webb

U.S. Coast Guard, MSD Quad Cities

Kristina Hynes

U.S. Coast Guard, MSD Quad Cities

Chris Clark

U.S. Coast Guard, National Response Center

Steve Faryan

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5

Scott Hayes

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7

Gary Haden

McKinzie Environmental

Joel Mohr

Iowa-American Water Company

Jim Case

Iowa-American Water Company

Bryan Butler

Rock Island Arsenal Water Treatment Plant

Barb Naramore

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

 

Minutes of the October Meeting

 

The minutes of the October 24-25, 2001 UMR Spills Group meeting were approved as written.

 

OSC/Corps Coordination Protocol

 

Barb Naramore reported that the Corps’ Mississippi Valley Division (MVD) and its three UMR districts have responded to the Spills Group’s request for clarification regarding coordination between OSCs and the Corps.  She distributed letters from MVD Commander General Arnold and the three district commanders.  Naramore noted that the four letters are somewhat inconsistent in their use of terminology, but appear to outline generally similar procedures for coordination between the Corps and federal responders and/or federally designated “on-scene incident commanders.”  Theresa Duvall acknowledged the ambiguous language, but emphasized that her intent in drafting the Rock Island District’s letter was not to limit the coordination procedures to FOSCs.  The Corps’ capabilities as outlined in the letters include reporting and monitoring, logistics support, contracting and technical support, possible assistance with control and containment, and potential changes to river operations.  The letters also identify various limitations, including the Corps’ responsibilities to its established missions and the limited response training of its personnel.  After some discussion, it was agreed that Naramore would use the letters to draft a protocol governing coordination with the Corps.  She will distribute this to MVD, the three districts, and the Spills Group prior to adding the language to the UMR Spills Plan.

 

National Response Center

 

Lieutenant Commander Chris Clark provided an overview of the National Response Center’s structure and operations.  Established in 1974, the NRC serves 16 federal agency customers and is co-chaired by the U.S. EPA and U.S. Coast Guard.  It is the communications center for the National Response Team and the national point of contact for reporting oil and hazardous materials spills, radiological and biological releases, incidents involving terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and railroad and transit incidents.  Approximately one-third of callers to the NRC are reporting an incident.  The NRC makes an average of 7 notifications for each incident report it receives.  The number of reported incidents has varied between approximately 25,000 and 35,000 annually in recent years, but there has been a steady upward trend in the number of outgoing notifications over the same period.  In declining order, the 10 states with the most reported incidents in FY 01 were Texas, Louisiana, California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, and Washington.  The most commonly reported oils are mystery sheens and diesel spills.  Unknown chemicals and nitrogen oxide lead the list of reported chemical spills.

 

The NRC operates on a fee-for-service basis.  Customers, including federal agencies, states, and others, pay for the incident reports that they receive.  Other services, such as statistical data and analysis, are also available on a reimbursable basis.  Notifications are determined based on the nature of the report and location of the incident.  For example, the notification group is typically smaller for pre-release reports than post-release reports.  Notifications are generally made within 15 minutes of the NRC receiving a report, unless a customer agency is operating on an after hours paging system.

 

Clark explained that the NRC’s web site (www.nrc.uscg.mil) includes information regarding reporting requirements and procedures, statistics, environmental statutes, and links to other sites.  Privacy- and security-restricted information is not available on-line.  The NRC accepts on-line reporting, but prefers phone reports.  The Incident Reporting Information System (IRIS) is an Oracle-based database designed to handle detailed incident-specific information.  A matrix with various prompts ensures that the NRC staffer asks callers the right questions for the type of incident.

 

The NRC has experienced a 45 percent increase in incident reports since September 11, 2001, with weapons of mass destruction-related reports increasing by 2,500 percent.  The NRC is working with the Department of Justice and others to establish a national terrorist hotline (1-866-SOS-TIPS).  The hotline is scheduled to be operational in June.  Initially, efforts will focus on encouraging employees in specific industries in key cities to report suspicious incidents.  Pre-release reports will be forwarded to the FBI for investigation, while post-release reports will be relayed to local emergency responders.

 

Jim O’Brien explained that the UMR Spills Group is working with public water suppliers on the Upper Mississippi to ensure that suppliers receive timely notification of incidents that may affect them.  O’Brien noted there is not complete overlap between reports to the NRC and reports to the states.  He estimated that approximately 20 percent of reports go only to the federal or state level, rather than to both as required under federal and state law.  He also noted that the states do not necessarily receive NRC faxes sent after hours until the next business day.  Given these factors, O’Brien suggested that it might be helpful if the water utilities could receive NRC faxes directly.

 

Clark said the UMR water suppliers could receive NRC notifications either via fax or e-mail.  He said the fee for this type of service would be approximately $1,500 per year, assuming the number of notifications does not exceed 2,000 to 5,000 annually.  For a single annual fee, the utilities could form a group and designate what fax numbers or e-mail addresses should receive notifications for particular clusters of counties.  Clark said it is also possible to designate both business and after hours contacts for each entity.  In response to a question from Harvey Dexter, Clark said municipalities and other local units of government can also become NRC customers for notifications.  Responding to John Grump, Clark said federal agencies are currently the only entities subscribing to the NRC’s phone notification service.  This level of service costs approximately $300,000 to $500,000 annually. 

 

Bryan Butler said the Rock Island Arsenal would be interested in receiving NRC notifications directly.  O’Brien advised intake operators to request notification of all incidents in upstream counties, rather than trying to set an upstream cut-off.  Clark said a utility could modify its notification parameters if personnel were overwhelmed by reports.  Clark and O’Brien both cautioned that the initial quantity estimates provided to the NRC and state are seldom correct.

 

Clark reported that the NRC is considering a notification software system that would be programmed to try all known phone numbers for a particular entity/individual until successful contact is made.  A computerized message would provide basic information about the reported incident.  Subscribers would not have to pay an additional fee beyond what they are already paying for fax/e-mail notifications and they could still receive those fax/e-mail notifications as well.  Clark asked for feedback on the utility of such a system, noting that Washington-level response personnel have questioned its value.  John Grump, Alan Reinkemeyer, and Dave Perry each indicated that such a system would be quite useful because it would allow duty officers to receive notifications at remote locations.  Under the current system, faxes sent to the central office after hours typically go unread until the next business day.

 

In response to several questions, Clark provided a variety of additional information.  It is the FOSC’s responsibility to follow-up regarding violations of federal reporting requirements.  The NRC does not follow-up on incidents in any manner at present, though it is possible that the Center may collect follow-up information in the future.  EPA can ask to be notified of incidents that appear to fall under the Coast Guard’s jurisdiction.  EPA would simply need to modify its MOU with the NRC in order to receive these additional notifications.  The NRC cannot provide states with information regarding the caller reporting an incident.  To do so would violate Privacy Act restrictions.  However, states are free to consult with the EPA and Coast Guard, which do receive caller information from the NRC. 

 

John Grump thanked Clark for his presentation.  Grump also expressed appreciation for the NRC’s flexibility in working with the states and, potentially, the UMR water utilities. 

 

UMR Early Warning Monitoring Network

 

Barb Naramore reported that the UMRBA and EPA Region 5 will be modifying their agreement governing spills mapping and planning to include an effort to scope a potential early warning monitoring network (EWMN) for the UMR.  In addition, EPA Region 5’s START contractor will be available to provide technical assistance to the scoping effort.  Assuming a viable scope is developed, Region 5 is also prepared to provide $75,000, through the UMRBA, to equip a pilot monitoring station.  These activities will all be coordinated through Region 5’s Superfund program.  Staff with Region 5’s UMR Team are also exploring the possibility of other funding to support a longer term UMR source water protection initiative.  Activities under such an initiative might include facilitating communication among states, federal agencies, and utilities; articulating a shared vision for the waterway; and implementing an early warning monitoring system.  The funding prospects for the source water protection initiative are unknown at this point.

 

Naramore also briefly summarized a January 26, 2002 conference call coordinated by Rich Gullick of American Water Works Service Company.  The call was designed to assess the potential involvement of several agencies in development of a UMR early warning monitoring network.  In those discussions, representatives of USGS’s Biological Resources Division (BRD), which operates the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin, indicated that BRD is not a candidate for providing real time data dissemination.  Representatives of USGS’s Water Resources Division (WRD) said that WRD serves real time data from some of its monitoring stations.  Those stations must comply with WRD’s QA/QC standards and other data protocols. 

 

Naramore explained that, in forming the EWMN Scoping Group, she would attempt to include a mix of state, federal, municipal, and private industry representatives.  In addition, the group will include a combination of spill responders, intake operators, and drinking water and water quality regulators.  Naramore invited Spills Group members to identify potential Scoping Group members.

 

Joel Mohr said Iowa-American is potentially interested in hosting the pilot monitoring station.  He asked whether the pilot station budget would include funding for personnel costs related to staffing the station.  Mohr also emphasized the Suppliers Coalition’s perspective that a UMR EWMN needs to provide for structured notification and communication. 

 

Dave Perry said staff in Iowa DNR’s water supply section identified fertilizer, pesticides, metals, and medical waste as leading contaminants concerns.  Naramore asked whether these were general drinking water concerns or were specific to spills, noting that the two lists might look quite different.  Perry also noted that the parameters of primary concern may vary with location.  Jim O’Brien suggested the possibility of mapping past spills to provide a sense of spatial distribution as well as common contaminants.  O’Brien said petroleum has been the most frequently spilled product on the UMR.  Bryan Butler identified herbicides, ammonia, nitrogen/nitrates, and oil as the contaminants with which he is most concerned.  After some further discussion, Spills Group members and other meeting participants agreed that Butler’s list reflected the primary contaminants of concern for the UMR.  Mohr suggested adding microbial contaminants to the list.  O’Brien also suggested monitoring basic parameters such as dissolved oxygen and turbidity, noting that they could serve as indicators for sudden changes in river conditions.

 

Regarding the spatial distribution of monitoring stations, Mohr suggested that a site upstream of the Quad Cities would provide the best protection for water suppliers in the metro area.  He identified issues associated with such an approach, including the need to secure remote monitoring locations and increased costs if staff must travel to the monitoring station.  Mohr also suggested sampling in the main channel, rather than in off-channel areas.  O’Brien said locks and dams might afford secure, main channel sampling opportunities at appropriate locations.  O’Brien also suggested considering biotoxicity monitoring devices, noting that there are some promising new products, though more for batch sampling than continuous monitoring. 

 

There was general agreement among meeting participants that a UMR EWMN should employ continuous monitoring to the extent feasible.  John Grump observed that modeling or research efforts might help guide decisions about monitoring locations, including where in the water column to draw samples.  Alan Reinkemeyer recommended reviewing the river’s spills history when making decisions about monitoring locations.  Naramore observed that the UMR water suppliers vary widely in terms of the depth and channel locations of their intakes. 

 

Regarding communication and notification, Grump suggested considering a modified version of the system used on the Ohio River.  O’Brien said ORSANCO’s approach is quite labor-intensive, noting that ORSANCO staff are responsible for evaluating information and making notifications as well as coordinating equipment maintenance.  O’Brien observed that the Ohio River approach is a product of the time and circumstances under which it was developed and suggested that a more efficient system could be developed.  Mohr stressed the importance of having someone responsible for evaluating data anomalies before information is disseminated broadly, noting that Iowa-American trains the operators of its on-line instruments to question aberrations.  He emphasized that redundant information, equipment maintenance, and proper calibration all build confidence in data.  Grump said confidence will be a key issue for a UMR EWMN because people will be making decisions based on the information they receive and those decisions will have real costs. 

 

In response to a question from Naramore, Theresa Duvall said likely security issues associated with locating monitoring equipment at locks and dams would include the physical location of the equipment and access to the site by non-Corps personnel.  Duvall said the Corps would be willing to discuss these and other issues with the EWMN Scoping Group if locks and dams are identified as preferred locations for monitoring stations. 

 

Steve Faryan noted that the Region 5 Response Branch’s support for the UMR EWMN would likely be limited to the funding already identified for the scoping effort and potential pilot station.  He stressed that other sources would have to fund actual implementation and operation of a monitoring network.  Faryan and O’Brien volunteered to participate in the Scoping Group.  Reinkemeyer said he would ask Deana Cash, Missouri DNR’s emergency water supply coordinator, to serve on the group.  Perry said he would ask a member of Iowa DNR’s water supply section to participate. 

 

Report from Tri-State Hazmat Group

 

Dave Perry reported that Craig Strand of Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety is now chairing the Tri-State Hazmat Group.  Perry reported that the group has a communication exercise scheduled for August 22-23.  The exercise is designed to assess the effectiveness of different communications options in the blufflands area.  Ham radios, cell phones, and radios will all be assessed.  Tri-State also has a barge training class tentatively scheduled for May.  Some funding issues have emerged, so plans for the barge training, which would include both hands-on and classroom sessions, remain tentative.  John Grump emphasized that federal and state personnel are welcome to join Tri-State events.

 

Planning and Mapping Updates

 

Scott Hayes reported that the Quad Cities Sub-Area Committee has scheduled a field survey next week as part of its effort to develop response strategies.  This is similar to the effort already undertaken in the Twin Cities Sub-Area.

 

Gary Haden reported that the Greater St. Louis Sub-Area Committee has asked to observe Koch Pipeline’s next equipment deployment in the sub-area.  Koch has not yet set the date for the deployment.  The Committee is also awaiting further developments concerning interoperability of radio frequencies.  Committee member Steve Makky has been working with an interagency state group on an option that would permit agencies, contractors, and industry to share dedicated frequencies for emergency operations.  Users would have to sign a memorandum of understanding governing appropriate use.  John Whitaker is participating along with Makky on the Missouri group.

 

Barb Naramore reported that the Peoria County LEPC has elected to develop an oil annex to its all-hazards plan rather than a freestanding sub-area contingency plan.  UMRBA staff have been working with committee members to draft the annex, which is nearing completion.

 

Hayes expressed cautious optimism that Region 7 will allocate funds to developing inland sensitivity maps for additional portions of the region.  Hayes said the Missouri River is Region 7’s top mapping priority.  He expects a decision on funding by the beginning of July.

 

The meeting adjourned for the day at 5:07 p.m. and reconvened at 8:10 a.m. on April 18.

 

Security Issues

 

John Grump reported that Wisconsin has removed several databases from the internet, including those related to public drinking water supplies.  In addition, the state has increased security at its buildings.  Jim O’Brien said Illinois has conducted approximately 20 half-day seminars for water suppliers.  In addition, the state held a series of one-day homeland security briefings for local officials and others.  O’Brien said the state is reviewing its information access policies and is denying more Freedom of Information Act (FIOA) requests, particularly requests for detailed facility plans.  He emphasized that the state does not want to unnecessarily deny access to information, so frequently asks people seeking data to identify the purpose of their request, the individuals who would have access to the information, etc.  O’Brien said there is a 10-day exercise scheduled for Chicago in May of 2003.  Participants will include top level officials.

 

Bryan Butler said security has increased on the Rock Island Arsenal, which has been helpful to the water treatment plant.  He noted that protecting external distribution systems is a significant challenge for suppliers.  Dave Webb reported that the Coast Guard’s primary mission has shifted to port security.  The Coast Guard is conducting risk assessments on various facilities to help make resource allocation decisions.  Webb said the possibility of escorting critical cargo on the inland rivers is under discussion, but would require legislative and regulatory changes.  He noted that Coast Guard crews will be armed beginning this summer.

 

Steve Faryan reported that EPA has been conducting facility risk assessments in coordination with FEMA and the states.  In addition, EPA has been responding to many anthrax scares.  Region 5 has had only one positive anthrax test, at a postal facility in Indianapolis.  Faryan also noted that EPA will soon be distributing risk assessment grants to large public drinking water facilities. 

 

Theresa Duvall said the Corps has essentially closed all of its lock and dam facilities to the public.  However, the Lock and Dam 15 visitor center is open for pre-arranged visits.  Reservoir recreation facilities remain open, as do the public roadways that run across many of the dams at Corps reservoirs.  Duvall said she is working to resolve any access issues that might interfere with the response strategy site assessments scheduled for next week in the Quad Cities.  She also noted that the Corps’ Navigation Information Center remains available on-line, though the Corps is removing the addresses of its facilities from the internet.  In addition, it is requiring that all FOIA requests be submitted in writing.

 

Dave Perry reported Iowa DNR has been working on security issues with water suppliers in the state, with some of the efforts pre-dating September 11, 2001.  The DNR’s six field stations met last week to discuss water supply security issues.  Perry said state buildings remain open.  Visitors must sign in to review records.

 

Scott Hayes said most of EPA Region 7’s security work has been conducted by branches other than the Response Branch.  Region 7 has removed some contingency plan information from the web.  In addition, EPA has removed some Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) data from the web.  Region 7 OSCs have been visiting facilities with other agency staff to raise awareness of security issues, including site access.  Hayes said there are indications that terrorists may be relying more on trade journals than government databases as information sources. 

 

Alan Reinkemeyer said Missouri DNR’s efforts with water utilities have included training sessions and technical bulletins.  Governor Holden has named Colonel Tim Daniels as the state’s homeland security chief.  The state is using several newly established committees to address key issues, including first response, transportation, utilities, and medical emergencies.  Reinkemeyer said these diverse committees have been quite helpful in identifying the state’s points of greatest vulnerability.  John Whitaker said he has accompanied EPA staff on some facility security visits.  He noted that one water supplier has switched from receiving its chlorine in rail cars to one ton tanks, but does not yet have appropriate storage for the tanks.  Whitaker also expressed concern that this change has increased the chance of operator error.  Reinkemeyer and Whitaker said the state has removed some sensitive information from the web, and tightened access to other data.  The state issued IDs to its workers. 

 

Harvey Dexter reported that the Coast Guard has been very active on port security issues at the national level, and locally as described earlier by Webb.  The Coast Guard recently issued a NAVIC guidance document governing security for passenger vessels and terminals.  Another NAVIC is pending that will establish guidelines for port security committees.  Webb observed that one challenge for Captains of the Port on the inland rivers will be determining how many port security plans to establish.  The pending NAVIC will provide guidance for making this determination, but the COTP will ultimately decide based on local circumstances and available resources.

 

Barb Naramore reported that she had implemented distribution and web posting of the UMR Spill Plan as agreed at the Spills Group’s October 2001 meeting.  Specifically, she distributed copies of the updates and the full plan to each agency’s primary point of contact.  That person is then responsible for distributing the updates to all plan holders within their state or federal agency.  The UMRBA continues to distribute the document to people outside of the member states and federal agencies upon request.  However, distribution of the full document is now restricted to spills planners, responders, and others with a demonstrated need for the complete document.  Others requesting the plan receive only the text portion, without the resource appendices.  Similarly, the UMRBA has posted only the text portion of the plan on its web site.  With the exception of one marina owner, Naramore said she had not received negative feedback regarding these restrictions.  Members of the Spills Group affirmed their desire to continue with this distribution strategy.  Perry noted that he has distributed the plan to hazmat teams on the UMR as well as to key state personnel. 

 

Dexter reported that the Coast Guard has a spill of national significance (SONS) exercise scheduled for New Orleans April 23-26.  While the exercise has been scaled back somewhat, it is still designed to test the ability of Louisiana and Texas to response to, and mitigate the effects of, a series of SONS incidents.  Dexter distributed background information on the SONS exercise and encouraged Spills Group members to attend as observers.  He also reported that plans are still on to deploy the vessel of opportunity skimming system (VOSS) in Paducah sometime in August or September.  This VOSS deployment will build on the Illinois River exercise last May, with the objectives of testing the VOSS in fast water, training Coast Guard vessel crews in VOSS deployment, familiarizing Paducah-based responders with the system, and testing a flow diverter device.  Dexter explained that the diverter’s manufacturer claims it is effective in directing flows at current speeds up to 5 knots. 

 

Agency Updates/Reports on Recent Incidents

 

John Whitaker reported that a train derailed on a bridge crossing the Mississippi River.  While the tracks were destroyed, the cars did not go in the river and nothing was spilled.  The train was removed from the bridge with barge-mounted derricks.  Whitaker also reported that Williams Pipeline has discovered contaminated soil at a pipeline segment approximately 50 miles north of St. Louis.  The company suspects the cause is a leaking valve, and is currently assessing clean-up needs.  Alan Reinkemeyer said the Missouri Pipeline Association is conducting training for fire departments and other first responders to explain pipeline operations, contacts, etc.  Whitaker reported that Missouri has established a state program to dispose of methamphetamine lab wastes.  He noted that the number of meth labs in the state continues to increase.  Twenty-five hundred labs were shutdown in Missouri last year.  Reinkemeyer said new state legislation is expected that should aid enforcement in a number of ways, including placing restrictions on various precursor materials.  Whitaker said the Herculaneum lead smelter is under order to improve its materials handling.  There is extensive contamination of roads and creeks in the area from the smelter’s previous operations.  Changes will include replacing the open trucks that have moved material through town with covered rail cars.  Whitaker also updated the group on the abandoned Equilon pipeline in St. Charles County.  As discussed at previous meetings, the pipeline was determined to be the source of intermittent petroleum product releases to the Missouri River and measures were taken to seal the line.  Whitaker said no releases have been detected in recent months.

 

Dave Perry reported that Iowa DNR is tightening up on wastewater treatment plant bypasses and has established a zero tolerance policy.  Perry also said there have been three small petroleum spills to the UMR in recent months.  In addition, foam being used to fight an upland fire reached the Mississippi River via Beaver Creek.  Perry expressed dissatisfaction with Equistar’s response to a recent sulfur dioxide release. 

 

Steve Faryan briefly reported on the Rouge River spill.  The Coast Guard led the federal response effort, with support from EPA.  Initially, the spill was thought to be several hundred gallons of waste oil.  Current estimates are that up to 50,000 gallons of product may be recovered.  Faryan said the material reached Lake Erie and may be the largest spill ever on the Great Lakes.  Approximately 200 people are working on the response.  The responsible party is thought to be an oil recycler that is known to have had problems in the past.  The waste oil reached the Rouge River via a storm sewer.  Faryan also reported that EPA Region 5 did a removal operation at National Auto in the La Crosse area.  Region 5 expects to station an OSC in the Twin Cities within the next year.  Faryan offered to provide Spills Group members with information about upcoming bioterrorism training in Madison.  Faryan said the training will address detection, response, and clean-up.

 

David Webb briefly described three recent spills involving commercial vessels on the UMR.  A diesel spill from a vessel near Buffalo was initially reported as 200 gallons, but was ultimately determined to be closer to five gallons.  A hydraulic hose ruptured on a vessel near East Dubuque.  Webb said this spill was addressed and cleaned up quickly.  A vessel near St. Paul hit the bottom of the river, lost a rudder, and had a minor spill.

 

O’Brien reported that there have been no significant incidents on the UMR in Illinois since the Spills Group’s last meeting.  The state is working to bring all local hazmat teams up to a consistent level of training and capability.  Illinois has also developed three special interagency teams, each of which includes approximately 30 law enforcement officers and 10 to 15 technical people.  With this combination of expertise, the teams are able to operate in contaminated environments that may also be hostile.  Members go through more than 60 hours of basic training together, and then exercise as a team once every other month.  The state has used grant money from the Department of Justice to establish and equip the teams. 

 

John Grump observed that counter terrorism funding seems to be flowing very slowly.  Webb said the Coast Guard is administering port security grants.  The COPT reviews applications, but funding decisions are made at the national level.  Perry reported that counties in Iowa are applying directly for counter terrorism funding of approximately $40,000 per county.  Perry expressed surprise with the purposes for which some counties are using the money.  For example, several have proposed establishing hazmat teams.  Perry observed that $40,000 does not go very far toward training and equipping a hazmat team. 

 

Grump reported that a tow lost approximately 50 gallons of diesel fuel near Genoa last Monday and failed to report the incident.  The fuel fouled the nearby fish hatchery.  Wisconsin DNR wardens and Coast Guard personnel boarded the vessel and the tow captain admitted to the incident.  Grump said he was quite pleased with the Coast Guard’s response to the incident.  Grump also reported that meth lab seizures are up dramatically in Wisconsin.  He noted that the state does not get involved in clean-up of the labs.  Instead, the Drug Enforcement Agency has contracted with a private entity to handle the sites.  Reinkemeyer explained that Missouri initially relied on the DEA for clean-ups, but found that it was taking too long.  Reinkemeyer said part of the problem was that the DEA was disposing of everything on site as hazmat, while much of the material can be treated as solid waste. 

 

Grump said La Crosse has established a Level A hazmat team.  This team will handle a large portion of the UMR in Wisconsin.  Grump also noted that Wisconsin has a contract with Waste Research and Reclamation for remediation work in western Wisconsin.  The firm will be developing the capacity to respond to weapons of mass destruction and bioterrorism. 

 

Scott Hayes said EPA Region 7 initiated an expedited enforcement program a couple of years ago.  Hayes said decreasing fines has been quite effective in increasing Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) compliance.  Region 7 will be taking the same approach with oil spills.  By decreasing fines and expediting the enforcement process, EPA staff are able to pursue more cases.  Hayes said other regions have had good success with this approach.  Grump noted that Wisconsin’s wardens are authorized to write littering citations.  The $300 fine is rather small, but Grump said the prompt enforcement it affords can be quite effective.  Kristina Hynes said Coast Guard personnel have a similar ticketing program under which they can assess $250 fines.  If the person cited does not pay the ticket, the fine escalates to a civil penalty.

 

Other Business

 

The UMR Spills Group’s next meeting was scheduled for October 16-17, 2002 in the Quad Cities.

 

With no further business, the meeting adjourned at 10:03 a.m.