Meeting Summary

Upper Mississippi River Hazardous Spills Coordination Group

October 24-25, 2006

Davenport, Iowa




Roger Lauder

Illinois EPA

Rodney Tucker


Mike Anderson

Iowa DNR

Rick Gann

Missouri DNR

Tom Kendzierski

Wisconsin DNR

Steve Faryan

US EPA, Region 5

Jim Silver

US EPA, Region 7

Joe Davis

US EPA, Region 7

Donna Jones

USACE, Mississippi Valley Division

Frank Catalano

USACE, St. Louis District

Nick Schnerre

USACE, Rock Island District

Bob LeMonds

USACE, St. Paul District

Scott Pettis

USCG/USACE, Rock Island District

Lt. Alfred Jackson

USCG, Sector UMR

Jerry Schulte

Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO)

Gary Haden

McKinzie Environmental

Bob Holmes*

USGS, Illinois Water Science Center

Tim Ganz*

American Water

Ryan Schuler*

American Water

Cindy Hebenstreet*

American Water

William Pecord*

Cape Girardeau Water System

Leath "Chip" Drake*

City of East Moline

Esther Dundore*

Illinois American Water Company

Greg Swanson*

City of Moline, Water Division

Cary McElhinney*

US EPA, Region 5

Bill Franz**

US EPA, Region 5

Joel Allen**

US EPA, Office of Research and Development

Dave Hokanson


(*Attended on the 24th only. **Participated via phone on the 24th.)



Call to Order and Introductions

The meeting of the Upper Mississippi River Hazardous Spills Coordination Group was called to order at 1:05 pm by Dave Hokanson. Introductions of all in attendance followed.


Approval of Previous Meeting Summary

Hokanson asked if there were any revisions to be made of the written summary of the Group's previous meeting. No further comments or corrections were provided by the group. Hokanson noted that the summary would then be considered final.


Updates to Spills Group Membership and New Spills Group Chair

Hokanson distributed a list of current Spills Group members. He then reminded the group that the Chair position, held by John Whitaker of Missouri for the past several years, was to be transferred at this meeting, with the rotation going to the State of Iowa.  Hokanson introduced Rodney Tucker of Iowa DNR as the new Chair of the Upper Mississippi River Hazardous Spills Coordination Group (Tucker then chaired the remainder of the meeting).


Ohio River Early Warning Monitoring Network

Tucker introduced Jerry Schulte, Manager of Source Water Protection and Emergency Response for the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO).  Schulte provided a detailed review of the organics detection system ORSANCO has had in place on the Ohio River since 1978.  Schulte also described a more recently introduced network on the Allegheny/Monongahela river system, which seeks to obtain real time data and includes smaller utilities as partners.


Some items of note from Schulte’s presentation included:


  • The organics detection system (ODS) was initially established in response to a carbon tetrachloride release.
  • This ODS provides daily monitoring for 22 selected organics. 
  • The ODS began with 7 stations and has evolved to 15 active monitoring stations.
  • Daily sampling and analysis (gas chromatography) is done at each of the monitoring sites, which include utilities and industrial partners.
  • ORSANCO has purchased the monitoring equipment for the ODS and facilitates data tracking and exchange, as well as periodic/major maintenance. Utilities (and industrial partners) provide day-to-day operation and maintenance.
  • Costs incurred by ORSANCO associated with the operation of the ODS system include approximately $2500 in consumables per site per year and two staff FTEs,  Costs to partner utilities can vary, but include approximately 2 hrs/day in staff time for sampling, equipment operation, and results reporting.
  • ORSANCO receives NRC spill reports, and reports spills to NRC if first aware.  About six relevant reports of release are received per month.
  • The ODS has been very useful in tracking the movement of contaminant plumes down the river.
  • ORSANCO’s overall role in spill response involves monitoring (ODS), communication, time of travel calculation, instream concentration calculation, and on-river response (as needed).
  • The Allegheny/ Monongahela monitoring project, which is separate from the Ohio River ODS, may have more similarities to what has been attempted so far on the UMR, in that on-line, real time monitoring was being conducted. However, this project has also encountered funding issues and is no longer supported through ORSANCO.
  • Schulte stressed the importance, in designing a monitoring system, of matching the technology selected to the identified threats and existing assets/infrastructure through a “suitability and susceptibility” analysis.


Following his presentation, Schulte took questions from the group.  Hokanson asked why ORSANCO had chosen to use a grab sample approach for the ODS, as opposed to an online system. Schulte responded that there was not a good match of technology to the potential threat, at least at the time the network was established and that their efforts to work with real time systems for the ODS had not identified a reliable technology (though Schulte later suggested that the Turner Designs 4100 hydrocarbon fluorescence detector may be a promising technology for what is being pursued on the UMR). Hokanson also asked Schulte’s opinion on biomonitoring systems, as that technology is also being considered for the UMR.  Schulte responded that biomonitoring systems still are in need of development and refinement, again reminding the group that it is important to match the system to the need/threat that has been identified.


Update on Operational Status of Pilot Monitor at Lock & Dam 15

Dave Kull provided a brief update regarding the operation status of the pilot (multiparameter) monitor at Lock & Dam 15.  He reported that the monitor continues to operate, though the DO and chlorophyll measurements are not valid due to damage to the probe ports resulting from water infiltration.  Hokanson and Kull noted that the email notification system, based on pH readings, does appear to be working well.


Hokanson asked the group to consider whether to keep the current sonde running or pursue other alternatives at this point which may include:


  • Keep the sonde running in its current (reduced) capacity.
  • Repair, maintain, and possibly purchase the existing sonde so that it can continue operation with all probes in a restored condition.
  • Discontinue the pilot sonde.
  • Pursue new/different pilot installation.


The consensus of the group was to repair and maintain the current sonde, to keep it running for approximately one year while options for an expanded network were being explored. Reasons given for pursuing this approach included: 1) to maintain momentum on the project, and 2) the sonde is producing some useful data in the interim for water suppliers and others.


Biomonitoring Update

Joel Allen and Bill Franz joined the meeting at this point via conference call to update the group regarding a potential biomonitoring approach for early warning systems on the UMR.  Franz and Allen reported that they had submitted a Regionally Applied Research Effort (RARE) application within US EPA to support the development of a pilot biomonitoring system which would establish up to 5 biomonitoring stations on the UMR This system would use bivalves (mussels) to detect changes in water quality.  “Alarms” triggered by the organism would then be followed by sampling and analysis to determine contaminant(s) more specifically. US EPA is looking for partners in this effort, with the understanding that EPA could provide the equipment, while the partner(s) would need to provide day-to-day maintenance and operation.


Early Warning Monitoring Network Proposal

Tim Ganz next led a discussion of the draft proposal for the expansion of an early warning monitoring network on the UMR.  Ganz provided an overview of the proposal, then asked for questions and comments.  Donna Jones asked how the proposed number of sites had been selected and asked where knowledge stood regarding dispersal of contaminants. Schulte suggested that a “suitability and susceptibility” analysis was need to determine what were potential threats, what were assets currently available, and what might be best technologies to apply. Jones suggested that “locations of opportunity”, such as locks and dams, be considered.


Gary Haden asked what the utilities’ willingness to pay was for an early warning monitoring system.  Esther Dundore replied that this really in turn a question of what the customer is willing to pay.  Greg Swanson added that, since this type of service is a public good, it is difficult to capture the cost.  He further noted that political support for such as system may come into play only if there is an incident or crisis. Haden observed that it may be possible to use a tie-in to hypoxia issue in pursuing funding.


Hokanson raised question of the appropriate institution to manage a UMR early warning monitoring network, noting that the ideal entity would be one that can receive funds and distribute them out regionally, across state lines. Ganz and Mike Anderson suggested that UMRBA would be an appropriate entity to receive and distribute funds to manage such a system.


Swanson noted that the UMR Water Suppliers Coalition will continue its efforts to secure funding for an early warning monitoring network.


The meeting adjourned for the day at 5:15 pm, and reconvened at 8:00 am on the 25th.


Next Steps for the UMR Early Warning Monitoring Network

Hokanson began the second day of the meeting with a synopsis of the previous day’s conversation regarding an early warning monitoring network and outlined likely next steps as follows:


§         Next Steps for UMRBA Staff

o       Use funds to repair and maintain sonde at L&D 15 for continued operation throughout the next year.

o       Complete pilot monitor Evaluation Report.

o       Continue to work with UMR EWMN Scoping Group and UMRWSC to refine and distribute monitoring network proposal.  This includes a further effort at a “suitability and susceptibility” analysis.

o       Investigate possibilities for “lead agency” to coordinate network, receive and distribute funds (candidates may include UMRBA, EPA, USACE, or USGS).

o       Look for partners to participate in biomonitoring project, as proposed under EPA RARE funding.


§         Next Steps for Spills Group Members

o       Talk with UMRBA representatives, UMRBA Water Quality Executive Committee members, and others within agencies about the need for the network (and preferred “lead agency” for coordinating such a network).

o       Continue to look for funding opportunities within states/programs.

o       Be prepared to provide letters of support, if needed.

o       Review Evaluation Report and Proposal.

o       Provide information to support a “suitability and susceptibility” analysis.


The group was in general concurrence that these were appropriate next steps.  Steve Faryan offered to review and share information from NRC reports in the development of a “suitability and susceptibility” analysis. Jones suggested that industry/dischargers be approached as possible partners in the monitoring effort. Rick Gann suggested that the tie-in to hypoxia work be explored in greater detail and that work in cooperation with USDA was a possibility. Jones added that, from a nitrate monitoring perspective, it may be possible to collaborate with Iowa State and other universities.


Agency Updates

All agencies present gave a brief update on recent activities related to spill response on the UMR. 



Iowa and Illinois commented on a manure spill in the Davenport area, which did not affect the UMR – but had been reported as to IL EPA (public water supply program) as a threat to the river.  Illinois, Missouri, and Wisconsin all noted their planning efforts related to SONS participation.  Wisconsin (and Minnesota in written report) both reported on a recent fire at a plastics manufacturer in South St. Paul, Minnesota, noting that a large volume or runoff water reached the river, due to fire fighting, but that water sampling did not show a chemical impact on the river. Minnesota, while not in attendance, submitted a detailed written report.



Faryan noted that Region 5 is looking for suggestions from the states regarding unannounced exercises. Also, he highlighted upcoming OSC readiness training in February 2007, to take place in Miami, Florida (see http://www.epaosc.net/ for more details). Faryan also encouraged the continued use of the Inland Sensitivity Atlases developed by Region 5.


Joe Davis commented that Region 7 is currently engaged in gearing up for the SONS 2007 exercise, and that command structure for SONS remains a challenge. He also noted that an RRT meeting was recently held in St. Louis. Davis highlighted that ethanol had recently been a significant consideration for the Region, in light of potential growth in the ethanol industry. He noted that, since ethanol cannot be transported through pipelines (due to corrosion issues), ethanol transportation will continue to be concern. Davis commented that Region 7 is looking to develop a pocket guide for NIMS that would better match the agency’s needs. He also noted that Region 7 has received surplus equipment – boom and trailers – from USCG. Davis explained that the boom is 24-inch skirt, so is useful for protecting individual facilities, but not well suited to diversion and collection on fast water. He added that further training would be needed on the use of this boom. Frank Catalano noted that this type of boom could be used by USACE on reservoirs. Finally, Davis noted that he and Haden were working on additions to the Quad Cities response strategies.


Jim Silver added to the Region 7 report, commenting on a recent exercise in the St. Louis area. He noted that the OSRO in this exercise entered the river upstream of Lock & Dam 26, resulting in significant delays, and was not adept at booming on the river.



Jones expressed interest in USACE distribution of the Group’s UMR Emergency Action Field Guide, and requested that copies be provided to the three districts on the UMR.  Hokanson agreed to provide what was available. Lt. Jackson suggested that USCG could distribute these guides when boarding vessels (which occurs approximately 1000 times per year).  Tucker indicated that Iowa would reproduce and distribute copies on its own.



USCG Sector UMR provided its update as part of Lt. Jackson’s presentation (see following section).


USCG Sector UMR Update

Lt. Alfred Jackson provided the group an update on the activities of USCG Sector UMR.  Items of note from Lt. Jackson’s presentation included:


  • Command center is no longer located in Keokuk, it is now in St. Louis. Vessel is only remaining presence in Keokuk.
  • Sector UMR provides escorts for certain dangerous cargoes (CDCs).
  • Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs) are available for nationwide response.
  • Six trailers and 6000 feet of boom are stationed throughout the Sector UMR response area (at St. Louis, Quad Cities, LaCrosse, and Twin Cities).
  • Hurricane Katrina did drain down resources from Sector UMR, showing the difficulty in responding to more than one crisis at a time.


Following his presentation, Jackson took questions from the group.  Catalano asked what had happened to the four trailers previously located in St. Louis. Jackson explained that they had either been relocated or taken out of service due to their poor condition.  Catalano further asked about training that had been provided for boom deployment. Jackson replied that training was an area that needed to be addressed.


Schulte noted that utilities have an interest in knowing when a CDC is in the vicinity of an intake, but that ORSANCO has been unsuccessful in tracking this information. Jackson suggested that the Vessel Movement Center (https://navcen.uscg.gov/irvmc/irvmc_home.htm) may be resource for this type of information.  Jones commented that the NIC and OMNI system web sites may also be of aid for this type of information.  See the following web pages:


  • Rock Island District Home Page (look under Navigation Resources in left hand column)


  • Navigation Information Connection (NIC)


  • Operation and Maintenance of Navigation Installation (OMNI) Reports


Distribution of Updated UMR Spills Plan

Hokanson distributed updated copies of the UMR Spills Plan to all points of contact (POCs) in attendance.  He indicated that he would be sending copies to any POCs not in attendance. Hokanson asked whether there was any feedback regarding future modifications to the plan at this time. The group did not offer any ideas for plan modification, and Hokanson suggested that this be included as a topic of conversation during the next meeting of the Group.


Recent Products: UMR Planning & Response DVD, UMR Emergency Action Field Guide

Hokanson reviewed two items recently produced with input from the Group: the UMR Planning & Response DVD and the UMR Emergency Action Field Guide.  In response to a question from Hokanson, the Group indicated that it would like to see the UMR DVD finalized at approximately the time of the next meeting. As distribution of the Emergency Action Field Guide was discussed earlier in the meeting, it was not discussed extensively here.


Spill of National Significance (SONS) Update

Hokanson and Lauder gave an update on planning for the SONS 2007 exercise and reported on the recent SONS Middle Planning Conference held in St. Louis. Hokanson reviewed level of participation by states and circulated participation list and scenario descriptions.  He noted that the design team for the Upper Mississippi Venue would be meeting November 29th in St. Louis.  Lauder commented on meetings he had coordinated with Indiana, Kentucky, and Missouri, as well as industry. In response to a request from the group, Hokanson indicated that he would provide further information on SONS-related events and website (www.sons-program.org) as new material became available.


Development of St. Louis Response Strategies

Silver provided a presentation regarding the development of spill response strategies for the St. Louis area. This was an in-field exercise conducted on September 12, 2006 to identify priority areas for protection and accompanying strategies on the UMR in the Greater St. Louis area. 


Among the observations made by Silver were:


  • The need to consider not only sensitive areas in terms of human health and natural resource protection, but also tourist areas and areas where clean up would be especially difficult.
  • The need to consider how the abundant barge traffic in the area would complicate response actions.


Following his presentation, Silver took questions from the Group. Lauder observed that Illinois does not have the resources available to do booming on the river.  Silver replied that Region 7 has contractors that can respond, but it is important that this type of documentation is established to aid contractors in response. Lauder asked whether the contractors were also employed by private industry and whether this created a potential issue in whose request they would honor if multiple requests were made. Silver acknowledged this as an issue. Davis commented that the exercise held with OSRO the day before response strategies work emphasized the importance of working out contractor coordination. He also noted that the speed of the current in the St. Louis area was a challenge for booming and that, in some cases, attempting to boom may create more problems and that deflection may be the best that can be achieved under some conditions.


Additional Comments/Observations

Schulte described an effort by ORSANCO, modeled on West Virginia requirements, to require that all NPDES permit holders discharging to the river display a placard visible from the river which identifies the discharging entity and permit number. He suggested that this program will aid greatly in spills response and that information was available on ORSANCO’s website (http://www.orsanco.org/watqual/standards/documents/2006StandardsFinal.pdf , see page 12).


Next Meeting

The Group agreed that the next meeting should be held in March or April 2007 and that Davenport was the preferred location.  Hokanson indicated that he would email the group to confirm scheduling for next meeting.