Upper Mississippi River Hazardous Spills Coordination Group Meeting

April 7-8, 2010

LaCrosse, Wisconsin

 

Meeting Summary

 

 

 

Participants

Roger Lauder (1)

Illinois EPA

Rodney Tucker

Iowa DNR/USCG

Dave Morrison

Minnesota PCA

Rick Gann

Missouri DNR

Henry Baumann

Wisconsin DNR

Steven Dewald

Wisconsin DNR

Tom Kendzierski

Wisconsin DNR

Lois Ristow (2)

Wisconsin Emergency Management

Frank Catalano

USACE, St. Louis District

Lynette Gandl

USACE, St. Paul District

John Punkiewicz

USACE, Rock Island District

Rob McCaskey

USCG, Sector UMR

Harold Winnie (1)

US DOT, Office of Pipeline Safety

Sheila Calovich (1)

US EPA, Region 5

Steve Faryan

US EPA, Region 5

Bill Franz (3)

US EPA, Region 5

Ann Whelan (1)

US EPA, Region 5

Joe Davis

US EPA, Region 7

Jim Silver

US EPA, Region 7

Curt McMurl

US FWS

Eric Nelson

US FWS

Jim Nissen

US FWS

Bill Thrune

US FWS

Dave Warburton

US FWS

David Fritz

BP America

John Giebenhan (2)

Canadian Pacific

Chad Livingston (2)

Canadian Pacific

Matt Stokes

Pinnacle Engineering

Luke Kusilek

Xcel Energy

Sanhita Chattopadhyay (2)

UMRBA

Mark Ellis (2)

UMRBA

Dave Hokanson

UMRBA

Courtney Larson (2)

UMRBA

(1) = By telephone, both days.

(2) = First day only.

(3) = 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 Dave Morrison.  Morrison was acting as Chair because Roger Lauder could not attend the meeting in person, though Lauder did participate in the meeting via conference call.  Introductions of all in attendance followed.

Corrections to Previous Meeting Minutes

Dave Hokanson asked if there were any corrections to be made to the minutes of the October 6-7, 2009 meeting of the Group.  No corrections were offered.

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge Spill Contingency Planning

Introduction and Context for Project

Steve Faryan and Dave Warburton offered opening remarks regarding the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (UMRNW&FR) spill contingency planning effort.  Faryan described the process used to develop the planning materials, noted spill cooperative development work also going on in the LaCrosse area, and thanked all the participants in Pool 7 work.  Warburton also thanked the participants in the project and noted that Pool 7 and Pool 13 efforts were a pilot project, and that this may lead to further work in other UMR pools. 

 

Demonstration of Pool 7 Response Planning CD

Mark Ellis provided an overview and demonstration of the draft Pool 7 Response Planning CD, including the following elements:

§         Pool overview document

§         Site-specific response strategies

§         Initial incident action plan

Ellis emphasized that the CD and its contents were in draft form, so that comments were welcome.   Following the demonstration, the group offered a number of comments as described below.

 

Faryan indicated that county emergency managers’ phone numbers needed to be part of the incident action plan (IAP).  He also asked Tom Kendzierski and Lois Ristow if the IAP provided what Wisconsin needed for planning purposes.  Kendzierski and Ristow replied that the IAP appeared to have what is needed.

 

Jim Nissen asked if seasonal considerations could be included in the response strategies and whether photos reflecting seasonal conditions could be incorporated.  Ellis responded that this was possible as space allowed.  Lynette Gandl asked how wild celery was considered in the response strategy planning.  Nissen commented that areas of wild celery growth can vary over time, but it is a natural part of the system to be protected. 

 

Joe Davis asked about including ice response in the strategies.  Matt Stokes suggested that the best approach may be to include some narrative regarding ice response, but he did not feel it was necessary to include for each of the strategies.  Ellis replied that this is indeed how ice response is addressed currently in the CD – with some text in the introduction and in the tactics manual.  Davis asked if safety considerations were addressed.  Stokes noted that this is currently addressed via a paragraph present in the pool overview document. 

 

Rob McCaskey suggested that it might be helpful to indicate the boom skirt size to be used, although he noted that this may be difficult to prescript.  Jim Silver commented that often it’s necessary to simply use whatever boom is available, though he agreed it is important to think about desired boom skirt size in advance, particularly if boom caches are being developed. 

 

McCaskey noted that 12 inch boom can be used on the open river, but it may be necessary to use a series of shorter lengths than the longer lengths indicated in strategies as written.  Davis suggested including the Coast Guard’s fast water booming manual as a reference on the CD.  McCaskey clarified that it is fine to leave the boom lengths in the strategies as they are currently written, as long as it is emphasized that the total lengths should be segmented in deployment.  Davis observed that an experienced responder will certainly plan for the possibility of needing additional boom length when reading the recommended lengths in the strategies.

 

Ellis briefly demonstrated the functionality of the “GeoPDF” maps which are part of the Region 5 Inland Sensitivity Atlas and are also included in the Pool 7 planning CD.   Kendzierski asked if the TerraGo toolbar that provides some of the GeoPDF functionality needed to be downloaded.  Ellis answered that this was the case, but that it was also included on the CD and that much of the GeoPDF functionality was available even without the TerraGo toolbar.

 

Morrison suggested that approximately one month be allowed for the group to make any further comments on the strategies and the CD generally before it is finalized.  The group concurred with this review timeline.  With this decision made, Hokanson suggested that the group now turn its attention to the initial IAP component of the Pool 7 response planning tools.

 

Initial Incident Action Plan (IAP) for Pool 7

Morrison offered introductory comments regarding the Pool 7 initial IAP, emphasizing that the intent was to develop a tool for use in the first 12 hours of an incident.  Sanhita Chattopadhyay next provided an overview of the contents and structure of the IAP.  Morrison noted that the IAP goes from simple to complex in its description of objectives, strategies, tactics and tasks.  He added that a primary goal of the initial IAP is to do some of the pre-planning and pre-thinking in advance of an actual incident.

 

Ristow commented that the IAP should use Joint Information Center (JIC) terminology in order to be compliant with the National Incident Management System (NIMS).   McCaskey noted that the Law Enforcement Section should be listed under Operations.  David Fritz concurred that this would be a possible arrangement.  Davis suggested that Operations Chiefs should be split out to air, water, land, etc. as these were likely branches.  McCaskey commented that Sections will evolve as an incident progresses.  Chattopadhyay said that the organization chart will also be provided in an 11 x 17 format which can be easily edited to match the situation during an incident.

 

Ristow observed that language regarding local agencies reflected Minnesota’s terminology and that Wisconsin has a slightly different approach.  She also suggested that details would need to be added for the role of agencies and entities listed in the initial IAP.  Ellis said that each agency/entity listed in the IAP is welcome to contribute language to the role description in the IAP.  McCaskey recommended adding a “prepared by and reviewed by” indication in the IAP.  Eric Nelson asked whether individuals from the agencies and entities would need to review the IAP section 204 forms.  Hokanson indicated that this would be very desirable.  Warburton asked if it would be appropriate to add individual names to the IAP.  Hokanson answered that, where specific names are known that these can be added.  Sheila Calovich commented that if this level of specificity was provided, then it would be necessary to institute a review process to keep the information current. 

 

McCaskey said that Sector UMR should be listed rather than the St. Paul Marine Safety Office as the primary USCG contact.  Luke Kusilek commented that it would be best to have Xcel Energy’s on-call contact listed in the IAP.  Dewald noted that the numbers currently in the IAP are business hours numbers and that after-hours numbers were also needed.  Morrison suggested that each agency/entity should review the IAP and make sure that it contains the numbers that that entity wants to have reflected.  Ristow said that, for local jurisdictions, the county dispatch number is best to include.

 

Ristow suggested that, in addition to the numbers provided, spaces also are left to allow for the addition of phone numbers specific to an incident.  Dewald said that the IAP should indicate that LaCrosse has a Level A hazmat team.  Morrison concurred, indicating that this should be on the phone list and elsewhere as appropriate in the IAP. 

 

Morrison emphasized that the review process would also be an important way to cultivate agency buy-in to the IAP and the Pool 7 materials more generally.  Faryan suggested that agency representatives should combine their comments into a single set representative of the agency as a whole.

 

Recent Tabletop Exercise in Pool 7 Area

Stokes presented a summary of a recent tabletop exercise that utilized the Pool 7 planning materials, which involved a tugboat sinking scenario near Dakota, Minnesota and emphasized the implementation of ICS.  Stokes displayed a table of conditions and considerations employed during the exercise.  McCaskey asked what the time displayed on the table meant.  Stokes replied that this was the time needed to deploy boom.  He further described how a script was developed for use during the exercise and how participating groups were provided with packets that contained varying amounts of information.  Stokes said that he exercise explored issues related to communication, distractions, and the availability of local resources.  He said that the entire exercise took a total of 3.5 hours to complete. 

 

Pool 13 Refuge Planning

Courtney Larson provided an update on the status of UMRNW&FR contingency planning in Pool 13.   She said that the next meeting for Pool 13 planning was being scheduled for May and that field work was anticipated to take place in June.  Davis indicated that he might want to be involved in Pool 13 work.  John Punkiewicz said that USACE had vessels available that could be helpful for Pool 13 planning efforts.  Davis offered that Region 7 has a jet boat that could be used for field work. 

 

Rodney Tucker commented that it would be desirable to bring the response strategy planning process to more of the UMR and the Missouri River.  Davis noted that Region 7 is working on a .kml file-based approach to mapping and response strategies in the Siouxland Sub-area and moving down the Missouri River toward St. Louis with this effort. 

 

Inland Sensitivity Atlas Update and Demonstration

Larson next provided a brief demonstration of the recently completed Minnesota Inland Sensitivity Atlas update, which has included “GeoPDF” functionality in atlas maps.  Punkiewicz noted that UMR Navigation Charts had also been recently updated by USACE. 

 

Response Equipment on the UMR

Morrison observed that working with UMRBA is the only really viable mechanism to maintain a UMR equipment inventory, and that the UMR Spills Group needs to keep the inventory current.  He added that, historically, fire departments had been a typical repository for equipment, but that CAER groups were now taking on a greater role in this regard.  Morrison continued by saying that equipment needs can also vary due to local conditions.  He suggested that it would also be important to review the contents of boom caches.  Stokes commented that one of the struggles in putting together an equipment inventory is keeping it up to date and current. 

 

Morrison added that another issue is access to the equipment resources, with ability for various entities to access the resources as needed.  He suggested that locks and dams may be the most uniformly distributed facilities for stationing equipment, but that entities other than USACE would need access the equipment for deployment.  Morrison concluded his comments by asking the group how they wanted to proceed in regard to the updating and refinement of a UMR equipment inventory. 

 

McCaskey said that USCG is evaluating the pollution response trailer program on the UMR.  He emphasized that issues related to deployment are very important.  However, McCaskey agreed that a logical first step was to figure out what existed on the UMR and then move forward from there. 

 

Stokes asked how information from FRP facilities could be obtained.  McCaskey replied that USCG has access to this type of information, but he emphasized that FRP facilities are moving away from having their own equipment and are more reliant on the equipment supplied by oil spill response organizations (OSROs). 

 

Punkiewicz said that, if the UMR Spills Group wanted to target locks and dams for equipment storage, it would be important to identify the need and communicate this interest to USACE District Commanders. 

 

Morrison asked the group what their level of interest is in working on an equipment inventory and if UMRBA is the appropriate mechanism to accomplish this.  Ristow suggested that the actual inventory may not be a very long list, as most facilities are using OSROs to provide the equipment needed.  She suggested that one of the biggest challenges may be that the equipment may not be readily accessible for “public” use and that equipment can often be in deteriorated condition.  McCaskey observed that often a shortage of people, rather than a shortage of equipment, will be a constraint in a response.

 

Silver suggested that it might be important to do a risk assessment in evaluating the adequacy of equipment.  Ristow concurred, observing that it would most important to focus on the areas of highest risk.  Morrison agreed that targeting areas of highest risk is important. Ristow observed that, unless US FWS stores equipment on site at the Refuge, it will not be possible to get equipment in place in time to protect sensitive resources.

 

Stokes said that some equipment is available in Lake City and Red Wing and that even if it cannot immediately be deployed, it can still be very helpful in catching large amounts of released product. McCaskey commented that equipment may need to be defined more broadly and could even include locks and barges. 

 

Silver said that even if the inventory list isn’t perfect, it provides and important starting point in knowing where to look for equipment.  Fritz said that much of the information needed should be available from contractor lists.  Silver suggested that it might be helpful to include anticipated time of response associated with the equipment. 

 

Rick Gann asked how often OSROs update equipment listings.  McCaskey responded that this information is updated every two years.  Tucker added that there are many small contractors which may have equipment available.

 

Development of Spill Response Cooperatives on the Upper Mississippi River

Stokes commented that the Red Wing area group has not met recently, but that work is taking place on the development of by-laws and that there may be interest among this group in becoming a subset of Wakota CAER.  He added that ADM is a central player in the Red Wing group.

 

Faryan observed that Midwest Fuels is probably key to the success of the LaCrosse area group.  He added that the LaCrosse group is also considering the approaches used by the Three Rivers Response Cooperative in Illinois.  Faryan said that the LaCrosse group also continues to look into the availability of response equipment in the area.  He emphasized that work with this group will continue going forward.  Dewald observed that there had previously been a co-operative in the LaCrosse area.  Stokes concurred, but added that this previous partnership had not held together.  He said that some promising signs of participation in the LaCrosse area were interest from Alliant Techsystems and a local brewery. 

 

Stokes commented that exposure to Wakota CAER boom schools has motivated people in the Red Wing area, but this has not been the case for LaCrosse and Red Wing areas.  Kendzierski commented that there is a “blind spot” regarding response capability in the LaCrosse and Prairie du Chien areas.  Ristow said that this results in part from the limited industry in the area, and therefore it is important to focus on the particular industries and facilities that are present, such as Midwest Fuels.  Kendzierski indicated that he was interested in participating in spill cooperative development efforts along the Mississippi River.

 

Davis asked how funding works for cooperatives.  Stokes replied that, in the case of Wakota CAER, each member industry pays $1,000 annually.  Davis asked how this would work for non-fixed facilities, such as rail and barge.  Morrison replied that one approach would be for rail and barge companies to pay and/or make arrangements with local entities to have co-op and response equipment in place. 

 

Kendzierski asked whether cooperative arrangements would provide any advantage to SPCC facilities. Faryan replied that such arrangements should have value for SPCC facilities.

 

Stokes summarized the status of the groups he’s worked with by saying that the Red Wing group will likely become a satellite of Wakota CAER and that the LaCrosse and Winona area groups will work together in exploring cooperative options.  He also added that CP rail has just staged response equipment in Winona.

 

UMR Response Training and Outreach

Ristow provided an update from the Tri-State Hazmat Group on their plans for upcoming training activities.  She indicated that Tri-State was interested in building on work from 2002 to update command post sites and in exploring the communications element of an IAP via a tabletop exercise.  Ristow said that Tri-State is considering a series of IAP trainings and could help facilitate a cross-border IAP.  She said that these would like be half-day events, but held 2-3 times in order to provide geographic coverage of Tri-State’s area. 

 

Davis commented on plans for replicating the response training that he had helped lead in several locations on the UMR.  He said that he would be helping lead training sessions in St. Louis and the Siouxland Sub-area in the near future.  Tucker added that St. Louis response training take place after the SCAT training session being held April 13-15, 2010.  Davis said that sometime near the end of the current (federal) fiscal year might provide an opportunity to replicate the training session on the UMR, such as in the Dubuque area, for both financial and river flow reasons.  However, he indicated that he could not make any firm commitments at this point.  Tucker concurred, adding that it might be necessary to defer any training session into the next year.  Davis and Faryan said that they would look into the possibilities for training and get back to the group.

 

McCaskey said that USCG is looking at the possibility of doing a VOSS demo in the St. Louis area in September 2010. 

 

Silver said that there will be a spill response workshop sponsored by the Greater St. Louis Sub-area Committee focusing on outreach to industry in the St. Louis area on June 23, 2010.  He explained that this will be an opportunity for industry to compare their plans to the Greater St. Louis Sub-area plan and the site-specific response strategies that have been developed for the Mississippi River in the St. Louis area.

 

The meeting adjourned for the day at 4:45 p.m. and resumed at 8 a.m. on April 8, 2010. 

 

Agency and Other Updates

US EPA Region 7

Silver noted the upcoming industry day workshop in St. Louis, as discussed the preceding day.

 

Davis said that Region 7 had been monitoring potential flooding events.  Tucker commented that there had been little flooding in Iowa due to quick melting of snow cover. 

 

Davis reported that Region 7 had worked with Magellan Pipeline to address a spill on 4 Mile Creek in the Des Moines area which was coming from an unknown source.  He said that investigations by Magellan had ultimately identified a leaking, abandoned drum as the source of the spill, which had created a sheen of approximately ¼ mile in length on the creek.

 

Davis said that the Region’s sensitivity mapping continues from Sioux City to Omaha, with plans to work from Kansas City to St. Louis and in the “Bootheel” area.  He reminded the group that this mapping approach incorporates the use of Google Earth/KML files. 

 

Davis added that he would like to test out aeration systems to address ethanol spills, including the use of a large compressor.  He said that he may work with Dave Brinkmeyer of Environmental Restoration on this project.

 

US EPA Region 5 (and related discussion of ethanol)

Faryan noted the summary of NRC reports regarding the Mississippi River that had been included in the meeting packet, which covered the time period of January 1, 2009 through March 16, 2010.   He also noted the availability of NRC reports to the states.  Kendzierski commented that Wisconsin’s reporting hotline receives the NRC reports and they are then forwarded on to him and other DNR staff. 

 

Faryan noted that US EPA Region 5 has information available about ethanol and other biofuels, commenting that this information is particularly relevant in light of the 2009 ethanol spill in Rockford, Illinois.  He added that US EPA has an 8-hour training class available on the topic, which is led by Jeff Kimble.  In response to a question from Hokanson, Faryan clarified that this was a classroom-based training.  Stokes asked if the training could be held out in the Region.  Faryan replied that this was possible.  Davis asked if this was the same training as had been provided at a recent readiness training.  Faryan answered that this was the same training class.  Davis also noted the NRT Quick Reference Guide for ethanol spills which had been included in the meeting packet.

 

Davis commented that many of the existing approaches to ethanol training do not address the environmental impacts of ethanol spills.  He said that he and Paul Doherty have been working to design a “quick-build” aerator that can create “islands” of higher oxygen levels in a water body in the event of an ethanol release.  Davis said that this effort is currently in the experimentation stage.  Stokes commented that in a recent incident that contaminated water had been pumped to a local wastewater plant for aeration.  Davis observed that, in designing a system to perform aeration, it is critical to produce small air bubbles.  He added that fuel grade ethanol also has a gasoline component, so it is helpful to also deploy boom to catch this portion.  Gann added that ethanol will cause a drop in oxygen significantly downstream from the release, which is important to understand if attempting aeration.

 

Gann said that some ethanol production facilities are storing ethanol without denaturing in order to avoid classification of the product as fuel.  He further explained that these facilities are then denaturing the product at the point of loading. 

 

Lauder said that he was interested in ongoing discussion with the states on ethanol issues, in order to be best positioned for future incidents.  Davis emphasized the importance of sampling, testing, and analysis in the case of an ethanol release.  Gann asked what is typically analyzed in ethanol incidents.  Faryan replied that a volatile organic compound analysis is typically run, with an emphasis on looking for ethanol breakdown products. 

 

Lauder again stressed the importance of collaboration on this issue.  Morrison said that what MPCA has learned can certainly be shared, adding that Minnesota’s experience has been that ethanol spills act somewhat like milk or manure spills.  He also said that MPCA has tried various methods of aerating – such as fire hoses and stirring – but that it has proved very difficult to execute. 

 

Faryan said that he would make available to the group the latest versions of US EPA’s biofuels facility response guides.  Kendzierski commented that the NRT quick response guide for ethanol was very helpful and that he is interested in similar documents for other products.  Faryan said he would check into how to provide feedback to the NRT on the quick response guide. 

 

Faryan next discussed US EPA’s Biowatch system, which is a real-time monitoring system designed to detect biological weapons.  He noted that two “actionable results” had been received in the past week for tularemia, but these appeared to be naturally occurring.  Faryan said that it might be preferable to drop tularemia from the monitoring because of it naturally occurring nature.  Davis commented that Region 7 had received calls on their spill line because of tularemia detections in East St. Louis.  Gann commented that Missouri DNR had also received calls due to these detections.   Silver said that US EPA Region 6 had also had tularemia detections. 

 

USACE

Punkiewicz said that he had provided a presentation on the UMR Spills Group and UMR spills coordination generally to a USACE natural resources management conference.  He commented that there was quite a bit of interest and positive feedback from his presentation. 

 

Punkiewicz also described a January 29, 2010 release of hydraulic oil that took place at the Hastings Hydropower Plant, which is immediately downstream from UMR Lock and Dam # 2.  He noted that the operations of the gates at the hydropower plant and of the dam itself had been manipulated to help facilitate cleanup – both in open water and later to remove contaminated ice.  Punkiewicz distributed a report of the incident to the group.  Faryan commented that it is important to note the chain of communication that took place within USACE in response to this incident.  Frank Catalano concurred, adding that there has been a significant change within USACE in accommodating responses to spill events.  Punkiewicz agreed, emphasizing that the manipulation of gates had aided in containment and collection during this incident.

 

Pinnacle Engineering/Rail Industry

Stokes noted that an industry-led exercise taking place in Fall 2010 in the Twin Cities may include the Mississippi River.  He added that few details were currently available regarding the exercise, but that he would keep the Group informed as more information became available. 

 

USCG

McCaskey noted that a change of command at Sector UMR was to take place soon.  He said that the Sector had also recently added two new OSCs.  McCaskey also mentioned plans for a VOSS demonstration in September, as had been discussed at the close of the previous day.

 

Xcel Energy

Kusilek said that he is now the Xcel Energy contact for the Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Dakotas area, and that Darrin Kearney is no longer with Xcel.  He asked to be added the UMR Spills Group distribution lists.

 

Iowa

Tucker said that, since the distribution of an EPA video on school mercury releases, Iowa DNR has seen an increased number of calls in regard to mercury.  He added that the fees charged by county hazmat teams to perform cleanups can be variable.  Gann said that Missouri has done county-level collection activities, beyond existing HHW collections, to target mercury.  Morrison said that Minnesota has also seen an increasing number of reports, but that household cleanups can be challenging because they fall outside regulatory structures.  Silver asked what Minnesota’s mercury cleanup threshold is.  Morrison replied that it is 300 ng/m3 for 24 hours, which is the same as California’s standard.  He added that it can be very difficult to meet this standard for personal effects.  Tucker said that local public health agencies typically are involved in cleanups in Iowa and asked others if that was also the case in their states.  Morrison and Kendzierski indicated that this was the case.  Davis said that US EPA doesn’t really have the authority to go into individual homes and that cleanups are more often being addressed at the state level.  Gann said that Missouri DNR is getting more equipment to do mercury response.  Baumann asked what the proper disposal technique was for a broken compact fluorescent bulb.  Davis replied that the approach is “aerate, sweep, aerate.”

 

Tucker said that Jared Angelle of USCG had been working on maritime security issues in the Quad Cities and had been making good progress and having good participation in discussions.  He added that a maritime security steering committee had been put in place for the Quad Cities.

 

Tucker commented that the next TRANSCAER tour will be a national anhydrous ammonia tour, which will begin in Iowa in April 2011.

 

BP

Fritz said that BP is downsizing generally and selling off a lot of its assets, including a lot of the infrastructure in the Midwest.  He also encouraged group members to submit abstracts for the International Oil Spill Conference which will be taking place May 23-26, 2011 in Portland, Oregon.

 

USFWS

Warburton mentioned the ongoing work of contingency planning on Pool 7, as had been discussed in detail the preceding day.  He also discussed the efforts Mike Coffey has made in examining and documenting the ties between spill contingency mapping and planning and the recovery plan for the Higgins Eye mussel. 

 

Missouri

Gann described the recent discharge involving hexavalent chromium at the BASF plant in Palmyra, Missouri, which had resulted from waste burning and the meltdown of fire bricks.  He said that low levels of hexavalent chromium were subsequently detected in Hannibal and one other water supply, which drew lots of publicity.   

 

Gann said that a separate, airborne release also took place at the same BASF facility on March 23, 2010.  In this case, sulfur trioxide was released during the acid reclaim process associated with pesticide production.  He said that approximately 3,200 pounds of sulfur trioxide were released and that an evacuation of nearby facilities took place.  Gann said that there did not appear to be any long-term effect from the release and that proper notifications took place, saying that Missouri notified the Illinois Duty Officer.  Punkiewicz said that USACE had been notified regarding the incident.  Gann said that high water had prevented the launching of vessels to check for fish kills in the UMR.  He added that there is no good way to test sulfur trioxide levels.  Silver asked who was responsible for performing the evacuation.   Gann said that BASF did this itself, as it included evacuating about 25 employees from the facility.

 

Wisconsin

Dewald said that budget cuts and retirements will result in a roughly 40% reduction of warden staff at WI DNR and that it will take considerable time before staff levels rebound. 

 

Kendzierski commented on an incident involving waste from Minnesota which was rejected at a Wisconsin transfer station and then illegally dumped.  He also said that meth lab discoveries had been declining, but that this may reflect changes in the process being used to manufacture meth.  He noted that a new kitchen industry, gold refining, included the use of hazardous materials and resulted in hazardous waste.

 

Minnesota

Morrison said that Minnesota had been working with US EPA on response readiness, which was largely focused on WMD concerns.  He also reported that flooding had not been as severe as in previous years, but there still had been a lot of work in flood preparation.  Morrison added that there had been impacts on wastewater systems, but that since impacts to homes were limited there had been less news coverage.  Lastly, he noted that budget constraints continue to be a challenge for Minnesota, as they are for other states.

 

New Madrid National Level Exercise (NLE)

Whelan said that the NLE, led by FEMA, will take place over three days in May 2011, which is the 200th anniversary of the New Madrid Earthquake.  She said that the exercise would involve eight states and four regions, and would include states participating via EMAC.  Whelan explained that while ESF 10 would not be completely played out in this exercise, that there are likely to be oil spill and hazmat components.  Moreover, she said that the Group could push for an emphasis on these components if that is something it wants to see included.  Whelan encouraged the Group to consider what level of engagement they’d want to have in the NLE and the extent to which members would like to see oil spill and hazmat components emphasized. 

 

Davis asked who the contact at US EPA Region 7 is for the NLE.  Silver said he would check on this, but that it was likely either Katy Miley or Susan Fischer.

 

Whelan noted that, due to budget constraints, many exercises were being scaled back and this one may be among them.  She said that there was not dedicated funding at EPA (or FEMA) to bring in an oil spill or hazmat component, but that EPA could find ways to support this if there was interest.  Silver asked whether FEMA was giving EPA any money for the exercise.  Whelan and Calovich replied that FEMA was not providing EPA funding, but emphasized again that EPA could find ways to support inclusion of spill or hazmat components.  Silver asked what the process would be for including such components if there was an interest.  Whelan and Calovich suggested presenting ideas to a joint Region 5 and Region 7 RRT meeting.  Davis said that if there was participation, he would not suggest joining a JFO with FEMA, but rather keeping Operations lean and following the model used in the Iowa floods. 

 

Whelan suggested having a meeting over the summer to discuss options.  Silver agreed to this and added that he would look into who the Region 7 contact person is for the NLE. 

 

Early Warning Monitoring System Update

Bill Franz reported that the monitors at the Minneapolis and St. Cloud sites in Minnesota were continuing to operate well, but that the station at Sherco Power plant was in need of both a new pump and new mussels.  He added that the installation at the LACMRERS facility in Muscatine, Iowa was proceeding and the discussions were continuing with Mid American Power regarding an installation just upstream from the Quad Cities.  Franz said that he expects these two installations to be up and running by later in the summer.

 

Hokanson asked Franz to describe the components of the monitoring stations, for those not otherwise familiar with the instrumentation.  Franz said that each station has a YSI multiparameter probe, an s::can spectrometer, and biological measurement device using mussels.  He added that data is made available over the internet, with the University of Iowa currently in the process of taking over data storage and serving.  He estimated that the cost of equipment and installation was between $70,000 and $100,000 per station.

 

Franz commented that there are also possibilities of putting in stations at Alton, Illinois and in the vicinity of Lock and Dam 18 or 19.  However, he noted that initial installations have been funded by an EPA research grant and that this funding source was reaching its end, so that new sources of funding will be needed to continue to support and grow the monitoring network.

 

Morrison asked if the mussel react to turbidity and therefore could be a mechanism to detect turbidity impairments.  Franz responded that he was not certain how sensitive the mussels are to turbidity levels.  Faryan added that the YSI probe include a turbidity sensor so that direct measurements could be made. Morrison suggested that funding might be available if the monitoring was tied into TMDLs.  Punkiewicz suggested continuing to keep in contact with Clint Beckert at USACE’s Rock Island District as well as with the St. Paul and St. Louis Districts generally. 

 

Upper Mississippi River Spill Response Plan

Plan Updates

Hokanson distributed an updated page for the Plan’s notification roster, which included corrected contact information for Minnesota.

 

Emergency Action Field Guide

Hokanson noted that the current stock of laminated UMR Emergency Action Field Guides was nearly exhausted and asked what the interest among the Group was in running another set of laminated copies.  He added that UMRBA may not have funds in its FY 11 budget to support this, so also asked if any others might be able to support this for the upcoming year.  Several members of the Group expressed interest in printing more laminated copies and Faryan said it was likely that US EPA could cover the cost of reproduction.  Faryan and Hokanson indicated that they’d work together on this.

 

UMR Notification

UMR Notification Drill

Gann indicated that he was working with a facility to put together a notification drill scenario.  He also suggested that an electronic notification element be attempted for the next notification drill.  Tucker said that inclusion of industry in the last drill allowed that industry to satisfy drill requirements. 

 

Enhancing Methods of Communication

Kendzierski commented that the fax notification form in the plan is outdated and that other, electronic methods of notification should be incorporated into the plan.  Tucker concurred, observing that faxes are largely obsolete and that email is more commonly used.  McCaskey noted, however, that it is worth keeping a fax option as it may be available when other systems fail.  Many group members observed that communications to Blackberries are often delayed.  Kendzierski suggested keeping the fax as a secondary communication option but finding more modernized primary communication methods.  Hokanson said he would look into options for including electronic notification and be back in communication with the group. 

 

Other Topics

Training Opportunities

Faryan mentioned an upcoming US EPA environmental response training (ERT) session on booming.  Davis commented that this is a good training, but does not provide much for fast water/large river applications.  Kusilek said that, from an industry perspective, training provided more locally is preferred.  Both Stokes and Morrison noted that Wakota CAER training is available in the Twin Cities area. 

 

Oil Spill Fingerprinting

Faryan said that oil spill “fingerprinting” is becoming an increasingly important technology and may be a topic of interest for the UMR Spills Group.  McCaskey and Silver agreed that this is an important topic for the Group to hear more about.  Catalano asked whether these types of analyses have held up in court.  Faryan replied that they had.

 

Electronic Distribution of Meeting Packets

Hokanson asked the Group whether they would prefer to receive meeting packets electronically, as opposed to the current approach of mailing out hard copy packets.  The Group was in agreement that electronic meeting packets should be used.

 

Next Meeting

The Group discussed scheduling of their next meeting.  Gann suggested that a videoconferencing option be considered for the next meeting, due to travel constraints.  Also noting travel constraints, Morrision suggested that perhaps the meeting, or at least the bulk of the meeting content, could be condensed into one day.  The Group discussed possible meeting locations as Dubuque or the Quad Cities, and the possibility of scheduling a Quad Cities Sub-area Committee meeting in conjunction with the UMR Spills Group meeting.  Hokanson said that he would be in communication with the Group to schedule a next meeting date.

 

The meeting adjourned at 11:45 a.m. on April 8, 2010.