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
John Martin1 USCG, Quad Cities MSD
Pete Vasquez USCG, Quad Cities MSD
Liz Jones2 NOAA
Gary Haden McKinzie Environmental
Dave Fritz BP
Chris Biellier1 Seneca Companies/MABAS 39
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 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
Dennis Shannon asked whether the training would be able to avoid
ongoing River navigation.
Ann Whalen suggested that a future version of the training
should include the use of barges in spill containment.
Steve Faryan asked whether in-situ burning and chemical
countermeasures would be discussed in detail at the training.
Tucker asked who the participants in the training were
anticipated to be.
Whalen asked whether this training would be replicated in
Rick Gann asked whether all gates to
Gann provided an update on recent flooding in
EPA Region 7
Lauder reported on
Tucker reported that Iowa DNR had been encountering a number
of incidents involving ethanol. He
announced that the TransCAER tour in
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
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
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
Barbi Lee suggested that this discussion could be used as a
starting point for further work on response strategies in the
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.
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
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 .
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Morrison next reported on an incident that occurred
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
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.
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
Morrison next reported on the
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
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
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
Franz reported that additional sites for monitoring stations
to be installed in the near future include Lock & Dam 14 and the
Franz noted that mussel survival has been good at the
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
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
Whelan asked how many total sites were being planned at this
time. Franz replied that 5 sites were
envisioned in the near future (
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
Schuler asked whether the units to be deployed at future
Next Meeting of the UMR Hazardous Spills Coordination Group
The next meeting of the UMR Hazardous Spills Coordination
Group was tentatively scheduled for
The meeting adjourned at on April 2nd.