Upper Mississippi River Hazardous Spills Coordination Group Meeting

April 1-2, 2008

Davenport, Iowa

 

Meeting Summary

 

Participants

Roger Lauder               Illinois EPA

Rodney Tucker             Iowa DNR/USCG

Mike Anderson            Iowa DNR

David Morrison3           Minnesota PCA

Rick Gann                    Missouri DNR

Brad Harris                  Missouri DNR

Tom Kendzierski4         Wisconsin DNR

Frank Catalano             USACE, St. Louis District

Andy Barnes3               USACE, Rock Island District

Clint Beckert3               USACE, Rock Island District

Scott Pettis                   USACE, Rock Island District/USCG

John Punkiewicz           USACE, Rock Island District

Dennis Shannon1           USACE, Rock Island District

Rob McCaskey            USCG, Sector Upper Mississippi River

John Martin1                 USCG, Quad Cities MSD

Pete Vasquez               USCG, Quad Cities MSD

Steve Faryan                US EPA, Region 5

Bill Franz4                     US EPA, Region 5

Barbi Lee                     US EPA, Region 5

Ann Whelan                 US EPA, Region 5

Joe Davis                     US EPA, Region 7

Liz Jones2                     NOAA

Gary Haden                  McKinzie Environmental

Dave Fritz                    BP America

Chris Biellier1                Seneca Companies/MABAS 39

Chad Livingston3          ICE-DM&E Rail

Ryan Schuler4               American Water Company

Tim Ganz4                    American Water Company

Dave Hokanson            UMRBA

 

1 = First day only.

2 = First day only by phone.

3 = Second day only.

4 = Second day only by phone.

 

Call to Order and Introductions

The meeting of the Upper Mississippi River Hazardous Spills Coordination Group (UMR Spills Group) was called to order at 1:05 pm by Rodney Tucker, UMR Spills Group chair. Introductions of all in attendance followed.

Quad Cities Spill Response Training

Joe Davis updated the group regarding the upcoming spill response training to be held at Arsenal Island on May 14-15, 2008. He reported that the training had also been discussed at the Quad Cities Sub Area Planning meeting earlier in the day. Davis reviewed a draft agenda for the training, training location, and target audiences for the training (including local industry, local fire departments, and other interested groups/individuals).  He indicated that much of the planning had been completed and that he would be sending out announcements very soon.  Davis did note that one remaining need area was finding a contractor to provide equipment for use in underflow dam construction.

 

Dennis Shannon asked whether the training would be able to avoid ongoing River navigation. Davis replied that almost of the training activity would occur in the forebay of the lock and dam, and therefore be out of the way of navigation traffic, except for a possible trip upstream along the bank of the island.  Scott Pettis added that the training would not be disruptive of navigation traffic.

 

Ann Whalen suggested that a future version of the training should include the use of barges in spill containment.  Davis concurred that this technique needs to be considered in training events.

 

Steve Faryan asked whether in-situ burning and chemical countermeasures would be discussed in detail at the training.  Davis replied that the discussion of these issues would likely be limited to a review of the applicable policies.  Tucker noted that the policy could simply be summarized as “call the RRT.”  Davis commented that Region 7 typically advises against the use of chemical countermeasures.  Chris Biellier observed that attempts to wash oil from a surface can often cause an incident to become a reportable spill when it would not otherwise have been one. Davis concurred that washing is often used in an attempt to substitute for proper mechanical control.  He added that the focus of the training should be on mechanical control techniques. Faryan agreed, suggesting that policies on in-situ burning and chemical countermeasures should be pointed out in applicable area and sub-area plans.

 

Tucker asked who the participants in the training were anticipated to be. Davis replied that primary participants would be first responders, local industry, and local fire departments. Pete Vasquez asked that a list of participants be forwarded to him so that the facility could be set up properly for the classroom training. Pettis commented that facility and security arrangements were being taken care of.

 

Whalen asked whether this training would be replicated in other locations. Davis replied that it may be possible to replicate the training, perhaps next targeting St. Louis as a location. He added that a major intent of the training is to make spill response techniques applicable for the region in which the training is taking place.

 

Rick Gann asked whether all gates to Arsenal Island would be open during the dates of the training. Pettis replied that all gates are currently open for access, with only the Rock Island gate closing at 6 p.m. He cautioned that individuals bringing large equipment should use the Moline gate. Pettis also commented that lunches would be available for sale on site at the training.

 

Agency Updates

Missouri DNR

Gann provided an update on recent flooding in Missouri.  He also reported on a incident south of Cape Giradeau, near Commerce, Missouri, where a suspected spill had been observed as sheen covering the surface of the River, with some reports indicating a red color, but that the material had reached the confluence with Ohio River and dissipated before it could be identified or removed.  Roger Lauder, Frank Catalano and others also commented that they had been aware of this incident.  Gann also mentioned a recent incident of a tanker truck releasing ethanol at the roadside.

 

EPA Region 7

Davis presented a summary of Region 7’s activities in response to recent floods in Missouri.  He described how a unified command was established in Jefferson City and that the state was divided into sectors, with Jim Silver leading the St. Louis sector and Davis involved on the Meramec River. He described the work that he and Skip Ricketts of Missouri DNR had done in collecting loose tanks and drums following the flood.

 

Davis also presented an effort being pursued by Region 7 to implement mapping of sensitive areas using a Google Earth interface.  He commented that the effort had just been in development, but ended up being employed as part of Missouri flood response efforts. Specifically, Davis noted that the interface had been used to locate tanks, drums and barrels for recovery. He also highlighted the ability to add information from the field and indicated that connectivity to the internet was not a problem during the response. Davis offered this approach as one to consider in future mapping efforts.  Whelan mentioned that another way to make background imagery available was to load it onto an external hard drive.

 

Illinois EPA

Lauder reported on Illinois’ flooding and Illinois EPA’s response, noting that flooding had occurred along several major rivers in the state.  He added that one train derailment (of a coal car) had been caused by bank erosion associated with the flooding. Lauder commented on the incident near Commerce mentioned by Gann in his report, noting that no drinking water intakes had been affected by the spill.  Brad Harris added that no intakes were affected in Missouri during this incident.  Lauder also reported that Illinois’ EPA continues to work on training with local agencies.

 

Iowa DNR

Tucker reported that Iowa DNR had been encountering a number of incidents involving ethanol.  He announced that the TransCAER tour in Iowa would be starting soon and that he was the contact point for further information about the tour.  Lauder noted that Illinois would have similar tour in the near future. 

 

US EPA Region 5

In a follow-up to the preceding state reports, Steve Faryan noted that US EPA would soon have a draft ethanol response fact sheet available.

Faryan next displayed a summary of NRC reports involving the Mississippi River for 2007.  He indicated that he would pass along the summary spreadsheet to Hokanson for distribution to the Group.  Lauder commented that Illinois EPA has experienced problems in receipt of NRC reports, especially during weekends.  Harris commented that Missouri DNR staff are set up to receive NRC notifications via Blackberries. Davis added that it should be possible for Illinois staff to receive NRC notifications via email.  Faryan indicated he would follow up to make sure that Illinois EPA is able to receive NRC reports in a useful and timely manner.

 

Davis noted that he uses Web OSC to monitor reports and ongoing incidents.  Davis and Faryan demonstrated Web OSC (www.epaosc.net), showing how states can log in by EPA Region and view reports of incidents.

 

US Coast Guard – Sector UMR

Rob McCaskey reported that the US Coast Guard had been highly involved in response related to recent flooding and that the level of activity rivaled that of the 1993 floods.

 

US Army Corps of Engineers – Rock Island District

John Punkiewicz mentioned a recent spill related to a tow boat and indicated that this had also raised issues regarding NRC reporting.  Faryan indicated that, similar to the previous discussion regarding Illinois EPA, the Corps could be notified via email of NRC reports, but that it would have to decide who the appropriate person(s)/position(s) would be to receive such notification.

 

US Army Corps of Engineers – St. Louis District

Catalano mentioned recent seismic activity near Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Davis commented that recent earthquake reports can be viewed at the Central United States Earthquake Consortium website (http://www.cusec.org/).

 

The Middle Mississippi River, Sturgeon, and Response Contingency Planning

Mike Coffey of the US Fish and Wildlife Service gave a presentation describing the occurrence of sturgeon populations in the Middle Mississippi River and the associated implications for spill response planning.  He reviewed the status of both pallid sturgeon (state and federally listed as endangered) and shovelnose sturgeon (not listed), as well as lake sturgeon (state listed as endangered).  Coffey also reviewed the life span and life cycle of the pallid sturgeon. He noted that the sturgeon life cycle led to many potential vulnerabilities to oil spills.

 

Coffey explained that sturgeon use side channels as a forage area, and therefore that the use of some side channels as oil collection areas may be problematic. He further clarified that, in the case of the Chain of Rocks area, that the open-flowing Chain of Rocks is well used by sturgeon, while the lock -controlled Chain of Rocks canal did not see nearly the same level of sturgeon use.  Therefore, Coffey noted, diversion of oil to the Chain of Rocks Canal, as is specified in existing response plans, would likely be an appropriate approach. He added that the discussion of how best to divert a spill in this area had come had been raised during the SONS 2007 exercise and that this had led to further consideration of how response plans might be related to the presence of sturgeon populations.

 

Coffey also pointed out that the Inland Sensitivity Atlas currently does not reflect sturgeon congregation areas.  Whelan suggested that the atlas could be modified in way similar to what was done in Wisconsin, where the presence of the sensitive resource is indicated multiple times to emphasize its importance and presence.

 

Whelan asked about the size of the pallid sturgeon population.  Coffey replied that he did not have a specific population estimate, but that it is in the thousands of individuals. He added that, generally, there is about one pallid sturgeon for every 84 shovelnose sturgeon.

 

Hokanson asked whether the sturgeon population was essentially only present from the confluence with the Missouri River and downriver, so that the side channels being discussed were only those present in this area. Coffey confirmed that side channels south channel south of the confluence with the Missouri were the focus of this discussion.  He added that, as restoration efforts proceed in the Middle Mississippi River, more of the side channels are likely to be used by sturgeon.

 

Barbi Lee suggested that this discussion could be used as a starting point for further work on response strategies in the St. Louis area. Whelan stressed that any further work on response strategies would need to be done in close cooperation with US FWS. She mentioned the current efforts to carry out state- and region-wide analyses to locate priority areas for the development of response strategies, adding that a more detailed representation of populations such as the sturgeon may help the prioritization process.  Whelan also commented that one lesson learned from the NEBA work on Isle Royale is that in some cases, knowing that response mechanisms are not perfect, the best approach is actually to focus on supporting/enhancing populations to the greatest extent possible (through means such as habitat restoration or genetic banking).

 

Davis commented that it may be difficult to force oil into the Chain of Rocks canal, as there is limited flow through the canal, and that some manipulation of the locks might be needed to assist in a response.  Dennis Shannon added that there may be hydraulic studies in this area that could be referenced.

 

Whelan suggested that it would be important to focus on the process for further examination of alternatives and development of response strategies.  Lee offered that the next step would be to set up a conference call.  Gary Haden said that he would be setting up a conference call and would be in contact with potential participants.

 

Whelan summarized the action items for the Inland Sensitivity Atlas identified in the discussion as follows: 1) more fish icons in sturgeon habitat areas, 2) incorporation, as appropriate, of sturgeon habitat areas identified by the Corps, and 3) including sturgeon information in region-wide analysis.

 

Disposition of US Coast Guard Response Trailers

McCaskey updated the Group regarding the US Coast Guard’s interest in finding entities willing to take over management of the Coast Guard’s eight “first aid” response trailers located on the UMR. He noted that these trailers had been acquired shortly after the Exxon-Valdez spill, but that the Coast Guard was not in a position to maintain the trailers and exercise the boom and other equipment contained in them.  McCaskey explained that the Coast Guard was seeking to maintain ownership of the equipment, while entering into agreements where other entities would take over management, use, and exercise of the materials.  McCaskey added that the Quad Cities MSD had made a request to keep the trailers currently under their control (2 of the 8 total trailers). 

 

McCaskey explained that the boom contained in the trailers is not fast-water boom and rather it is 12” or 18” skirted boom.  Davis commented that this type of boom was potentially appropriate either for protection of shoreline features or to hold back a shore-based spill. He added that it would be important to test and exercise the boom to determine its value and applicability.

 

The Group discussed the value of maintaining the boom in place at Lock and Dam 2 and Lock and Dam 7, concluding that it would be worthwhile to maintain the equipment in these locations.  McCaskey indicated he would look to identify local organizations that might be able to take on responsibilities in these locations.  The Tri-State Hazmat Group (representing Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin agencies) was identified as a potential contact point for connecting with local agencies (this group will next be meeting on April 30, 2008 in LaCrosse, Wisconsin). Catalano noted that the trailers may be useful for Corps-managed reservoirs.  McCaskey indicated that he would talk to Catalano about this potential use.

 

Spills Group/UMRBA/Region 5 Products

Hokanson reminded the group that Wisconsin’s contact information in the UMR Plan’s notification protocol had been recently updated, and that an updated plan page had been distributed just prior to the notification drill.

 

Hokanson reported that the updated Minnesota Inland Sensitivity Atlas was still in production, but should be completed this summer.  He demonstrated a new user end product that will likely be included in the Atlas – a “GeoPDF” – which is a PDF document that provides some GIS-like functionality. 

 

Hokanson also distributed laminated copies of the revised UMR Emergency Action Field Guide and indicated that the updated version would soon be posted to the UMRBA web site.

 

The meeting adjourned for the day at 4:45 pm.

 

UMR Spill Notification and Relationship to Recent Events

March 2008 UMR Spill Notification Drill

Dave Morrison presented a summary of the recent UMR spill notification drill, which took place on March 14, 2008.  Morrison reported that the drill had started at 9 a.m. on March 14th, when Cedar American Rail (DM&E) had initiated a report of a spill to the River near Brownsville, Minnesota. To report the incident, the rail company made calls to: 1) the Minnesota state duty officer, 2) local response (911), and 3) the National Response Center (NRC).  Morrison noted that the Minnesota duty officer had then called the US Coast Guard and made simulated calls to Minnesota and Wisconsin state agencies.  He reported that the NRC had faxed out notifications and that local responders actively participated by identifying assets that could be made available to respond to the event.

 

Morrison further described how, when the notification eventually reached him, he proceeded as if it was a real event, contacting the rail line and contractors to ask them questions as would be done in actual response.  He indicated that this process took between 1.5 and 2 hours. Morrison pointed out that the rail line acted promptly and was ahead of the government agencies in following through on the process. He added that, upon review of the NRC report, he decided to call Minnesota DNR and subsequently contact the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

 

Tom Kendzierski reported that Wisconsin DNR had received the NRC report fax, but that the indication of “release secured” on the fax limited Wisconsin’s followup on the drill. He did report that Wisconsin did notify their local warden, who in turn communicated with the Minnesota Duty officer.  He added that there was also some initial question of the identity of the rail company, as Cedar American was not an immediately recognized company name. 

 

Morrison observed that the indication of “release secured” appears on many NRC reports and it may be a default, and that this is something to follow up on with the NRC.

 

Tucker reported that the NRC notification had made it as far as Iowa’s duty officer, but did not go any further in terms of notification within the state.  He indicated that if a call had been received from the Minnesota duty officer, it might have spurred further action.

 

In terms of federal participation, Morrison reported that Petty Officer O’Sullivan of the US Coast Guard actively followed up on the drill, but that US EPA did not pass along the drill report to its responders.

 

Morrison reported that, among state and federal agencies, only he (MPCA) and the US Coast Guard actually made return calls to the rail company regarding the incident.

 

Morrison highlighted the response by Houston County (Minnesota) Emergency Management, who were actively engaged and made efforts to determine what resources would be available to respond to the incident. He pointed out that this was a lesson learned from the drill, that local responders will be on the scene and it is important for others to communicate with them.

 

Morrison also observed that, generally, it is difficult to give full attention to completing notifications during the first few hours of an event.

 

Punkiewicz asked whether Lock & Dam 8 had been notified as part of drill.  Morrison responded that the rail company had notified Lock & Dam 8.  Andy Barnes commented that there has been interest in determining how to include lock and dam facilities in NRC notifications. Faryan stated that NRC notifications can be set up as specifically as the county level, but indicated that the Corps would need to decide its preference for notification, whether that should be done centrally or on a facility-by-facility basis.

 

Tucker observed that, for drills generally, individuals tend to respond differently in a drill than they would during an actual incident.  Morrison added that an individual’s investment in/ownership of a particular scenario may also impact the level at which they respond.

 

Chad Livingston indicated that his supervisor, Mike Ball, had made most of the rail line’s phone calls.  Livingston reported that he had simulated travel to the site and would have been a coordinator on scene in the case of an actual event. He added that the rail company was comfortable in the scenario and communicated with local responders during the drill.  Livingston observed that such drills have value and should be repeated in the future.

 

Morrison mentioned that the issue of obtaining empty rail cars (to hold released product) had come up during the drill, and that the rail company had been able to identify a number of cars available from other companies. Livingston added that the rail line had followed its emergency response plan, which worked well.  He also noted that the relatively large number of available resources identified by Houston County was a pleasant surprise.

 

Morrison observed that, in actual event such as the one described in the scenario, much of the booming that could be accomplished would simply deflect product away from sensitive locations, and that the ability to contain the spill using boom might be limited.  Brad Harris asked whether one option might be to use barges for pumping out product.  Morrison replied that this might indeed be a viable option for such as spill.

 

Livingston asked whether any boom training had been done on the UMR.  The Group responded by letting Livingston know about the upcoming training to be held in the Quad Cities in May.

 

Faryan asked whether it would be possible to pre-deploy boom at National Wildlife Refuges.  Coffey indicated that there had been some discussion of this within the refuges. McCaskey asked how the boom in Coast Guard trailers might be of assistance. Davis replied that it could be potentially used to protect specific areas, close off areas such as marinas, or contain land-based spills, but could not be used in fast-moving water.

 

Minneapolis Gas Tanker Spill

Morrison next reported on an incident that occurred January 9, 2008 in downtown Minneapolis, when a gasoline tanker truck overturned on Interstate 94.  As a result, approximately 7,000 gallons of gasoline was released and entered a storm sewer which opens into the Mississippi River. He noted that gasoline was contained using boom, but that a fish kill still took place, which might have been a result of an ethanol component in the gasoline that was not captured via booming. Morrison also noted that fire/explosion concerns that had also been raised because the storm sewer travels underneath downtown Minneapolis on its way to the River, adding that a lot flushing of the tunnel was conducted to make sure that all of the product had been pushed out.  He also added that some difficulty was experienced in getting to the outfall site due to the construction of the replacement Interstate 35W bridge.

 

Faryan asked whether any foam had been used as part of the response.  Morrison replied that foam had only been used on the truck itself and not at the point of discharge to the River.

 

In regard to notification, Morrison noted that the driver of the vehicle had been injured and that the company was a small entity based out of Fargo, North Dakota and as result there had not been a notification to the NRC from the responsible party.  Morrison reported that he had ended up calling the NRC himself, while Steve Lee had directly contacted the Wisconsin DNR, US Coast Guard, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and US EPA.  He indicated that ultimately, it was determined that federal resources were not needed to aid the response. 

 

Morrison observed that there is commonly an assumption on the part of responders that the responsible party will contact the NRC.  However, he noted that this event was an example of when NRC notification by the responsible party was not realistically going to happen in a timely fashion, if at all.  Whelan and Davis both replied that in many cases US EPA has notified the NRC and that, generally, anyone who is aware of spill is encouraged to contact he NRC.

 

Livingston asked for details regarding why the responsible party was not involved in the notification.  Morrison replied that the truck owner had been identified right away, but that difficultly was encountered in reaching the company and that it did not have a response contractor to call on. 

 

Whelan commented that there are email and website means of notifying the NRC.  Morrison noted that Minnesota staff would prefer to simply fax or email the information they have to the NRC, rather than having to make a phone call or complete a specific form.  He added that another issue related to the NRC is that it is not designed to provide updates on incidents, only initial communications. McCaskey contacted the NRC at this point, and obtained a fax number that could be used to report incidents (202-267-1322), but emphasized that the NRC still prefers that notification be made over the phone.

 

Ethylene Glycol Spill at Hastings, Minnesota/Prescott, Wisconsin

Morrison next reported on the March 5, 2008 release of approximately 20,000 gallons of ethylene glycol from a rail car into the Mississippi River at Hastings, Minnesota.  He noted that Steve Lee of MPCA had made numerous phone calls during the incident to alert response agencies, so that key players – including the NRC – were notified early in the process.

 

Davis asked whether there had been a fish kill associated with the release.  Morrison replied that this was not known, due to ice cover in the area.

 

Kendzierski reported that a fax had been received from the NRC regarding the incident, but that there was some initial confusion as the waterbody indicated on the report was the St. Croix River rather than the Mississippi River.  This apparently resulted from the fact that the engine of the train was actually nearer to the St. Croix River, but the leaking car was above the Mississippi River.

 

Kendzierski also reported that a change in the structure of Wisconsin DNR’s call center to a consolidated hotline may have lead to Lee of MPCA needing to leave a voice message rather than speaking directly to an individual.  He added that by the time of the notification drill less than two weeks later, this issue had been addressed.

 

Planning for Future Drills

Kendzierski stated that even though the drill may not have played out exactly as expected, it resulted in a number of positive outcomes.  He added that one consideration for future drills would be for states to consider how far out they plan to play out the scenario.

 

Morrison asked whether the group was interested in carrying out another notification drill in the near future.  Tucker indicated that this definitely should be done. Lauder indicated interest in a drill, but noted a desire to have some of the issues with the NRC straightened out in advance of the drill.

 

Tucker offered that he would be able to help in planning a subsequent drill. Gann emphasized the importance of the drill beginning with industry, as had been done in the recent drill. The Group concurred with the benefits of industry involvement in the drill.

 

Gary Haden and Faryan emphasized the importance of building ownership of the drill amongst participants. Gann suggested that a window of time be provide for the drill to take place, as had been done with the recent drill by announcing in advance the month in which the drill was to be scheduled.

 

Whelan suggested that it may be appropriate to provide contact numbers for downriver states somewhere in the UMR Plan’s notification protocol so that these states could easily be notified in cases where the spill traveled beyond the Upper River. She clarified that this could be a very simple addition, accomplished by just including the 24-hour numbers for these states.

 

Morrison again thanked Cedar American Rail for their participation, emphasizing the importance of their cooperation to the overall success of the drill.  He added that it may also be appropriate to test out EMAC sharing of state resources in a future drill. Lauder asked how sharing of resources on the federal level takes place. Faryan responded that requests for assistance go through the RRT.

 

Haden observed that attempts to bring EMAC into drills in the Siouxland sub area were problematic. He noted that EMAC does not bring an instantaneous response, though the process has improved since Hurricane Katrina.  Haden also added that some states still have a preference to use in-state resources even if the closest resources are actually in a neighboring state.

 

In regard to notification, Tucker asked whether the US Coast Guard’s operations summary (OPSUM) reports for the UMR were available to the states.  McCaskey indicated he would followup on this inquiry.

 

Early Warning Monitoring Network Update

Bill Franz of US EPA Region 5 joined the meeting via conference call and gave a report on the effort to establish additional monitoring stations, beyond the one in service at the Minneapolis Water Works, which incorporate an s::can spectrometer, YSI multiparameter sonde, and biological response measurement (mussel gape behavior).  Franz indicated that two additional stations are scheduled to be installed during May and June of 2008. He reported that these stations would be at the City of St. Cloud (Minnesota) water utility and at Xcel Energy’s Sherco power plant near Monticello, Minnesota. Franz noted that St. Cloud State University will be providing calibration and other technical services in support of these monitoring stations. He added that the Sherco installation will require approximately 50 of trench to be dug out to facilitate intake of water to the monitoring station.

 

Franz reported that additional sites for monitoring stations to be installed in the near future include Lock & Dam 14 and the University of Iowa’s Mississippi Riverside Environmental Research Station near Muscatine, Iowa.  He noted that other future sites might include Lock & Dam 18, Lock & Dam 25, and Lock & Dam 26.

 

Franz noted that mussel survival has been good at the Minneapolis station and that a new, simpler device was being employed to measure gape behavior. Overall, he reported that the Minneapolis Water Works has been very satisfied with the operation of the monitoring station installed at their plant.

 

Mike Anderson reported that Iowa DNR was nearing approval from US EPA Region 7 for funding to support the monitoring network. He indicated that this funding of approximately $50,000 would be used to support station establishment at Lock & Dam 14, 15, or 18, depending on what was identified to be the highest priority.

 

Morrison suggested that there may be a tie-in between the continuous monitoring these stations would provide and total maximum daily load (TMDL) studies under the Clean Water Act. Franz indicated that he had been talking with staff at Illinois EPA and Wisconsin DNR about these possibilities and that the Minnesota River might also be an appropriate waterbody for this type of collaboration. Whalen commented that the early warning monitor project has always been intended to aid both spill response and water quality programs.

 

Anderson noted that Dave Kull (of Iowa-American Water) and staff from the City of Moline may be able to aid in the calibration of any monitoring devices set up at Lock & Dam 14.

 

Tim Ganz, via conference call, asked whether the data from these installations was being made available in real time. Franz responded that, while the data is collected continuously, he was receiving it a day following collection.

 

Ganz asked whether it was important to maintain the station at Lock & Dam 15, in light of the activities taking place at other locations.  Anderson indicated it was probably not necessary, given that Lock & Dam 15 is below most of the Quad Cities’ drinking water intakes.

 

Whelan asked how many total sites were being planned at this time.  Franz replied that 5 sites were envisioned in the near future (Minneapolis, St. Cloud, Monticello/Sherco, Lock & Dam 14, and Muscatine) and that the EPA Regionally Applied Research (RARE) grant could fund four of these installations.

 

Ganz asked whether USACE’s rivergages.com website could potentially continue to be a location where data is displayed. Franz replied that it might be possible to integrate this as an outlet for data sharing. Whalen emphasized the importance of making the data available in real time for users such as the US EPA and US Coast Guard.

 

Hokanson asked how long funding would be available from US EPA under the RARE grant.  Franz replied that funding would be available for two years from the time the network was up and running.

 

Faryan asked if any locations in the St. Louis area had been considered.  Ryan Schuler, via conference call, suggested that the planned river research center at Mel Price Lock & Dam might be a possible location. Faryan emphasized the need to sell the concept to utilities in the St. Louis area.

 

Schuler asked whether the units to be deployed at future Iowa sites would be similar to what is being used in Minneapolis. Anderson replied that they would be similar and that he would be happy to talk with the UMR Water Suppliers Coalition during one of their future meetings. Franz suggested that this could potentially be done at the Muscatine site once that station was on line.

 

Next Meeting of the UMR Hazardous Spills Coordination Group

The next meeting of the UMR Hazardous Spills Coordination Group was tentatively scheduled for October 15-16, 2008.  Proposed location is the Quad Cities.

 

The meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m. on April 2nd.