Minutes of the

Upper Mississippi River

Hazardous Spills Coordination Group Meeting


April 15-16, 2003


Four Points Sheraton

Rock Island, Illinois



John Whitaker of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m. on April 15, 2003.  The following Spills Group members and observers were present:


Rodney Tucker

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Stan Kalinoski

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

John Whitaker

Missouri Department of Natural Resources

John Grump

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Ben Wopat

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District

Harvey Dexter

U.S. Coast Guard, Eighth District

Carol McAllister

U.S. Coast Guard, MSD Quad Cities

Greg Morris

U.S. Coast Guard, MSD Quad Cities

Steve Faryan

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5

Ann Whelan

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5

Eddie McGlasson

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7

Gary Haden

McKinzie Environmental

Barb Naramore

Upper Mississippi River Basin Association


Minutes of the October Meeting


Barb Naramore suggested modifying the draft minutes of the October 16-17, 2002 meeting to reflect that a portion of the meeting was held as a joint session with the UMR Water Suppliers Coalition.  The minutes were approved with this modification.


Biological Resource Risk Assessment (aka Net Environmental Benefits Analysis)


Ann Whelan described a Biological Resource Risk Assessment process employed in coastal California to identify the risk to species posed by spills and various response alternatives.  The Coast Guard and EPA both participated in the California effort, which was primarily intended to enhance decision making regarding the use of dispersants.  While response options are obviously quite different on inland rivers, Whelan suggested that a similar approach might prove useful on the Upper Mississippi River.  In particular, she said it could provide insight regarding the placement of early warning monitoring stations and decisions about where to execute various response strategies.


Whelan explained that the assessment effort considers all species and asks resource experts to identify which species would be most affected, what would be the likely impacts, etc. of a particular scenario.  Participants included at least three individuals in each area of expertise (e.g., aquatic invertebrates) to encourage dialog and ensure a range of perspectives.  Impact metrics include the percentage of the species population affected and estimated length of recovery.  In the coastal California assessments, participants considered a range of response options and how they would affect various species during a series of 3-day meetings.  Based on this, they prioritized various response options, and these results were documented to aid in future incident-specific decision-making. 


Whelan said EPA Region 5 would like to try this basic approach on the UMR, and suggested a pilot effort in January or February of 2004.  She noted that much of the resource information needed to inform the assessment has already been gathered as part of the inland sensitivity mapping effort.  As a result, the process would likely require fewer in-person meetings.  According to Whelan, the assessment effort would complement the site-specific response strategies that have been developed in some sub-areas and Region 5’s forthcoming freshwater strategies document.  She reported that a similar effort is planned for this winter to assess Isle Royale, as part of an effort to develop protection strategies for this National Park Service island.


In response to questions from Spills Group members, Whelan said she expects that the UMR is likely too large to undertake a single, riverwide assessment.  Instead, she proposed breaking the river into more reasonably sized sections.  Key participants would likely include response and resource experts from the Fish and Wildlife Service, USGS, state agencies, universities, Coast Guard, and EPA.  Barb Naramore said UMRBA staff could work with EPA and the Coast Guard to identify specific individuals with the desired resource expertise.  Naramore noted that the process would likely require considering species-habitat groupings, rather than individual species.  She suggested that the effort build on previous work in the region to define logical groupings.  Carol McAllister observed that seasonality will be a critical consideration in determining resource vulnerability on the UMR. 


John Grump said such an approach would help engage biologists in the consideration of response options in advance of a specific incident.  Grump said this would help the resource experts understand the very real limitations that govern riverine response.  McAllister asked about feedback from participants in the coastal California effort, and Whelan said responders have been very pleased with the scientific basis it has provided for them in making response decisions.  After further discussion, the consensus among Spills Group members was in favor of pursuing a pilot assessment effort on the UMR, with modifications as needed to adapt the approach for a large inland river. 


Whelan noted that the approach is no longer being called Biological Resource Risk Assessment because risk assessment has a very specific, and different, meaning within EPA.  Instead, the process is now called Net Environmental Benefits Analysis.  Prior to the next Spills Group meeting, Whelan said she would attempt to have additional discussions with participants in the California process, as well as potential UMR participants, in order to obtain additional insight regarding how such an effort might best be structured for the UMR.


November 2002 Dredge Thompson Spill


Stan Kalinoski described a November 13, 2002 fuel spill incident involving the Corps’ Dredge Thompson operations.  The dredge was operating near Weaver Bottoms on the UMR when approximately 1,000 gallons of diesel were spilled during refueling.  Diesel was been transferred from the fuel barge to Booster Barge Mullen, which is used to augment the Thompson’s pumping power, allowing dredged material to be transferred through pipeline for longer distances.  According to Kalinoski, the incident occurred at approximately 2:15 p.m., and MPCA was first notified by the state Duty Officer at about 3:30 p.m.  The spill was initially reported as approximately 200 gallons.  Coast Guard personnel arrived on scene at about 8:00 p.m. and concluded that considerably more product was involved.


Kalinoski said that the Corps’ emergency response plan for the vessels included some outdated contact information.  In addition, the vessel captain was unwilling to hire a clean-up contractor until he received approval from higher authority, despite the fact that the vessel plan authorized him to do so.  As a result, MPCA intervened and hired Bay West at approximately 10 p.m. of the first day.  The Corps subsequently hired Bay West on November 14.


Skirt boom was deployed around the Mullen, but much of the fuel was out of the immediate area within an hour, before the boom was deployed.  The product went through a channel to reach the main body of Weaver Bottoms, traveled through this area, and went back out to the main channel.  Kalinoski described Weaver Bottoms as an extensive backwater area that serves as a significant migratory stopover for birds.  However, bird populations at the time were low and no waterfowl damage was reported.


According to Kalinoski, the entry channel to Weaver Bottoms would have been a good place to recover the fuel.  He said the Corps personnel had the response equipment necessary to execute such a strategy, but did not deploy it correctly.  Kalinoski said this lost opportunity illustrates the need for frequent training. 


MPCA and Corps staff met in January to review modifications to equipment, procedures, and training that the Corps had already made or planned to make.  This included relocating the shut-off switch for the fuel pump to an outside location and modifying procedures to require a crewmember to remain in place during all refueling operations.  Kalinoski said he has continued to work with Mark Krumholz of the Corps on various follow-up activities.  This included updates and revisions to the Corps’ response plan for the vessels and a training exercise scheduled for mid-May.  Kalinoski expressed reservation concerning a Corps practice of refueling while the vessels are underway.


Ben Wopat said operator error is always possible, but acknowledged that the Corps personnel’s response could have been better.  Wopat said the St. Paul District is revising not only its vessel plan, but also the District’s response plan.  It is also reviewing personnel arrangements, training, notification procedures, and the master’s authority to contract for response services.  Wopat and Kalinoski agreed that even an immediate hire of Bay West would not have fundamentally altered the outcome in this particular instance.  Instead, vessel personnel needed to deploy their own response assets more quickly and effectively.  Kalinoski said he has also encouraged the District to consider purchasing additional boom, anchors, and a skimmer, emphasizing the importance of being able to collect what is contained.


Wopat said approximately 30 District staff will attend the May training.  He invited the states, EPA, and Coast Guard to observe the training, which will be videotaped for future use as a refresher.  Wopat also indicated that the Corps will evaluate the possibility of booming during refueling operations, including assessing the additional time that would be required.  Kalinoski said this could help reduce risks during stationary refueling.  Greg Morris observed that setting the boom anchors can be quite time consuming and requires considerable small boat work.  In response to a question from John Whitaker, Wopat said the Corps is considering an automatic shutoff device, but has reservations concerning reliability.  He said such a switch would not take the place of personnel.


Kalinoski said there were some concerns with notification during the incident.  John Grump explained that an interstate notification protocol was developed for the UMR Spill Plan in hopes of avoiding such problems, and expressed concern that personnel in the signatory agencies may not be fully conversant with its provisions.  He briefly reviewed the protocol, under which the first-aware state is responsible for notifying other potentially affected states and appropriate federal response and natural resource agencies.  Notification of adjoining states and key federal agencies is to be made by voice immediately.  Others may be notified during the first available working hours by voice or fax.  Grump observed that the protocol, which has been in place for years, may have lost some of its currency as time has passed and personnel have changed within the signatory state and federal agencies.  He urged all Spills Group members to familiarize themselves and their colleagues with the terms of the plan’s notification protocol.


Barb Naramore highlighted other provisions of the protocol, including a first-aware federal agency’s responsibility to notify the affected state(s).  In such an instance, the state receiving notice from a federal agency would then assume the notification responsibilities of a first-aware state.  Each state is responsible for its own intrastate notifications.  Daily updates are issued either by the designated coordinating state or, if the spill is federalized, by the federal on-scene coordinator. 


In response to a question from Harvey Dexter, Naramore and Grump explained that the UMR Spill Plan notification protocol is designed to supplement any notifications issued by the National Response Center (NRC).  The UMR protocol should function regardless of who has notified, or been notified by, the NRC.  Grump said Wisconsin reminds responsible parties of their obligation to notify the NRC, but doesn’t call the NRC itself.  With respect to the Thompson spill, Wopat said the Corps notified the NRC per its plan, but did not make notifications in accordance with the UMR protocol.  Greg Morris said the Coast Guard will generally notify potentially affected states as a courtesy, though it does not do so with spills it deems trivial.  He also reported that the Coast Guard is not generally investigating spills estimated to be less than 100 gallons in size.


Coordinating Across SACPs on the Big Rivers


Harvey Dexter reported that the Region 4 RRT recently discussed the idea of developing an umbrella plan for the Ohio River that would facilitate coordination across the local sub-area contingency plans (SACPs) that have been developed for various spots along the Ohio.  Representatives of several agencies, including EPA Regions 3, 4, and 5, the Coast Guard, and NOAA, are meeting today in Paducah to discuss the idea further.  Dexter distributed a Coast Guard summary of plans completed and in progress on the inland rivers in District 8.  The summary also outlined various options for linking the existing plans, including developing an umbrella plan for the Ohio River, establishing a single plan covering all of District 8’s inland rivers, and using a single format for all local SACPs.  According to Dexter, the Coast Guard’s primary goal is to ensure adequate plan coverage throughout the inland rivers region.  District 8’s summary explains that the Coast Guard would prefer all SACPs to be in the same format, in order to facilitate its personnel’s use of multiple plans.  In contrast, EPA prefers to tailor each SACP to local needs, in consultation with local planning participants. 


John Whitaker asked about potential implications for the Upper Mississippi River.  Barb Naramore asked whether the Coast Guard and other agencies believe the UMR Spill Plan is currently functioning as an umbrella plan on the Upper Mississippi.  She noted that there is relatively little real world experience using any of the UMR SACPs, so this question may be difficult to answer.  Dexter said he does not yet know what judgments will emerge from the discussion concerning a potential Ohio River umbrella.  Naramore suggested waiting to see what happens with the Ohio River discussions before considering implications for the UMR. 


Terrorism Preparedness


John Whitaker reported that, with increased threat levels, Missouri has focused on establishing detailed processes and protocols for various contingencies.  For example, if the federal terrorism alert level is raised to red, there are specific provisions for who is on call, who is mobilized, etc.  The state has also increased its on-call resources.


John Grump said most of Wisconsin’s terrorism preparedness is being coordinated through the Wisconsin Emergency Management Agency and National Guard.  There have not been any increased requirements on DNR staff for availability.  The Governor’s office updates the state’s alert level approximately every two days.  Federal grants are being used to help equip responders, such as equipping response vehicles with laptops that have wireless internet access.


Stan Kalinoski reported that Dorene Fier-Tucker is MPCA’s terrorism coordinator.  MPCA has been working closely with Minnesota’s Department of Agriculture, Board of Animal Health, and others on various livestock-related threats.  In addition, MPCA is working on a series of fact sheets concerning issues such as debris clean-up.


Eddie McGlasson said Janice Kroone is heading EPA Region 7’s counter-terrorism efforts.  Region 7 has hired five new OSCs who are dedicated to counter-terrorism.  Their expertise includes radiation, bio-hazards, air monitoring, etc.  The region has also established industry advisory groups focused on specific potential threats, such as chlorine.  Internally, Region 7 has established specific tasks and protocols that are triggered at different alert levels.  This includes an occupant evacuation plan for the regional headquarters and an alternate location plan to ensure continuity of operations.  Nationally, EPA’s goal is to develop the capability to respond to five simultaneous incidents on the scale of the World Trade Center attack.


Gary Haden reported that McKinzie Environmental is developing a terrorism-related tabletop to be held in conjunction with the June Region 7 RRT meeting in Kansas City.  Burlington Northern has volunteered to be the industry participant.


Harvey Dexter stressed that terrorism has been at the forefront of the Coast Guard’s priorities since the September 11 attacks.  From the start of the war in Iraq, the Coast Guard has been heavily involved in protecting military assets.  The Coast Guard’s Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) approach involves identifying vulnerabilities and developing mitigation strategies.  Fourteen of the top national ports are within District 8, including some on the inland rivers that handle large cargo volumes, including some highly toxic substances.  Other challenges in District 8 include its large geographic size and the amount of training needed due to reliance on reserve personnel.


Coast Guard priorities include cruise ships, high interest vessels, and critical assets such as locks and dams and nuclear facilities.  The National Vessel Movement Center tracks the arrival of foreign vessels.  Requirements for advance notice and information regarding cargo and crew have all increased.  Coast Guard escorts are provided for some high risk vessels and armed Sea Marshals ride aboard certain vessels.  The Coast Guard has also established 100-person teams capable of deploying anywhere to address threats.  Dexter distributed a handout showing how the three-level maritime security system employed by the Coast Guard equates with the Department of Homeland Security’s five-level, color-coded system.  He also explained that the Coast Guard has issued a variety of Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circulars (NAVICs) to address various security issues on an interim basis until regulations can be adopted. 


Ben Wopat explained that the Corps of Engineers is primarily focused on protecting its infrastructure.  Criteria, including factors such as the size of the potentially affected human population, are used to rate infrastructure protection priorities as high, medium, or low.  Most money is currently going to improving security at hydropower generating sites.  Security measures include things like fencing, lighting, and monitoring.  The Corps relies on the Coast Guard to provide waterside security for many of its facilities.  Wopat noted that the Corps does not receive any follow-up information from the FBI after it investigates reports of suspicious activity near Corps facilities.  He said such follow-up would be quite helpful.  In response to a question from Steve Faryan, Wopat said responders can still access Corps facilities when necessary by calling ahead and presenting identification upon arrival.


Greg Morris noted that the Coast Guard had been working closely with the Corps to identify key vulnerabilities along the UMR.  Carol McAllister reported that the Coast Guard is developing Port Security Committees for the Twin Cities, Quad Cities, Peoria, and St. Louis.  The committees will include representatives of industry and all levels of law enforcement.  They will be charged with identifying vulnerabilities and mitigation strategies.  McAllister said the Coast Guard’s goal is to have initial working documents for each port by December 2003.


Rodney Tucker explained that Iowa Emergency Management has the lead in Iowa for counter-terrorism.  The state has specific plans for various threat levels, including personnel recall lists, etc.  Camp Dodge functions as the primary operations center.  DNR conservation officers share watch duty on key bridges that carry substantial volumes of hazardous material.


Faryan reported that EPA Region 5 has added a variety of personnel, including a bio-hazards specialist.  Chicago will be the site for a tabletop exercise in May geared to top officials from various agencies.  The exercise will involve a plague scenario.  Faryan said observers are welcome.  He also reported that Region 5 is working with the Wisconsin Rural Water Association on approaches for securing various types of facilities. 


The meeting adjourned at 5:10 p.m. for the day and reconvened on April 16 at 8:10 a.m.


Cape Girardeau Exercise


John Whitaker reported that Missouri will be holding an exercise on the UMR in the Cape Girardeau area September 5-6.  It will include deployment of the Coast Guard’s vessel of opportunity skimming system (VOSS).  The event is part of an annual exercise program that Missouri established two years ago.  Last year’s exercise involved a terrorism-related pipeline break and was quite large in scale.  This year’s scenario will not have a terrorism component and the overall event will be somewhat smaller in scale.  Mobile Oil is the tentative sponsor, and the scenario will likely involve a release from their pipeline, combined with other factors.  Whitaker encouraged interested observers to contact him for further information.


Harvey Dexter explained that the Cape Girardeau VOSS deployment will substitute for a Paducah-area deployment that the Region 7 RRT discussed last fall.  The Coast Guard’s Atlantic Strike Team will participate in the deployment, along with personnel from the region.  The Corps of Engineers has committed to providing the mv Pathfinder as the vessel of opportunity.  Dexter said EPA will be the lead federal agency under the scenario, with the Coast Guard playing a support role to EPA and the state.  He also noted that the Coast Guard may also seek to test various fast water options, such as the flow diverter, as part of the exercise.


The Coast Guard will use the Granite City-based VOSS for the Cape Girardeau exercise.  Dexter reported that the Coast Guard and the Port Authority that owns the former base where the VOSS is located have reached agreement on lease terms for ongoing storage.


UMR Early Warning Monitoring Network


Barb Naramore provided a brief update on activities of the UMR Early Warning Monitoring Network (EWMN) Scoping Group, explaining that the group has met through a series of conference calls.  The group has concluded that using a combination of a multi-parameter probe and a fluorescence detector offers a reasonable balance of several key considerations, including parameters monitored, labor required, and equipment costs.  The Scoping Group has also tentatively identified the Quad Cities as its preferred location for a monitoring station, with the Corps of Engineers’ Lock and Dam 15 offering perhaps the most promising site. 


Steve Faryan stressed that funding is likely to be a significant hurdle to establishing an EWMN for the UMR.  He encouraged examination of a variety of potential sources.  Naramore emphasized that operation and maintenance costs, as well as the initial capital investment to equip the system, must be addressed.  In response to a question from Stan Kalinoski, Naramore explained that the Scoping Group is also looking at the communication and information dissemination system that would be an essential part of any EWMN.  Specifically, the Scoping Group has sent a survey to UMR drinking water operators asking them about their notification preferences, what information they need about incidents, and their perspectives and willingness to participate in a web-based information system.  Faryan said that communication between responders and drinking water operators has already been enhanced and called this one of the best results of the effort so far.


Gary Haden emphasized the need for utilities to contribute financially to any EWMN.  Naramore concurred that utility participation will be important, but cautioned that the UMR utilities would not likely be able to establish a system on their own.  Considerations include the fact that the benefits of a particular monitoring station accrue largely to those utilities downstream from it, spatial dynamics that suggest UMR stations might be best placed at a variety of types of sites on the river (i.e., not exclusively at intakes), and the mix of large and small municipal and private sector operators on the river means they have widely varying resources.  Naramore said models from elsewhere in the country suggest that a combination of utility participation and public agency leadership will be required if there is ultimately to be an EWMN on the UMR.  Faryan said the Scoping Group would welcome input on funding options.


Tri-State Hazmat Group


John Grump reported that the Tri-State Hazmat Group has not yet established its work plan for the coming year.  Members have been focused on their responsibilities related to counter-terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, etc.  Recent past activities include an August 2002 communications exercise that tested the efficacy of various equipment options in the river bluffland area and June 2002 barge training.  In response to a question from Stan Kalinoski, Grump explained that Tri-State is driven largely by the state emergency management agencies and noted that MPCA has not previously been active in the group.  Grump also noted that Craig Strand of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety is the current Tri-State chair.


Barb Naramore said she spoke recently with Lois Ristow, who indicated that Tri-State may hold outreach sessions in August 2003 and also plans to update the manual that it distributes to county emergency managers.  Naramore said Ristow invited the UMR Spills Group to participate in those August sessions as a way of informing people about the UMR Spill Plan.


UMR Spill Plan


Distribution and Maintenance


Barb Naramore reminded Spills Group members of the basic distribution strategy for the UMR Spill Plan.  That strategy includes the following:


·       Each signatory agency’s primary POC to the group is responsible for distributing the plan within their state or agency as they deem appropriate.

·       UMRBA staff provides each POC with the plan in hardcopy and electronic format to facilitate that distribution.

·       For periodic updates, POCs have the option of distributing only updated pages to their plan holders, or redistributing the plan in its entirety with each update.

·       UMRBA distributes the plan to other parties only upon their direct request.  UMRBA refers plan requests from personnel within signatory agencies back to the POCs for those agencies.

·       UMRBA maintains a public access version of the plan on its web site (http://www.umrba.org/hazspills/umrplan.pdf).


Naramore reported that she distributed the most recent plan updates to the primary POCs in January.  John Whitaker said he was concerned that plan holders may have missed some previous updates, so he distributed the updated plan in its entirety in digital form to plan holders within Missouri DNR.  Whitaker said he will also be exploring the possibility of distributing the plan to local hazmat teams, at least in the St. Louis area.  Harvey Dexter reported that he also forwarded the entire updated plan in digital form to the Coast Guard’s plan holders, including Bob Allen of the Ninth District and the Chiefs of Port Operations for MSO St. Louis and Paducah.  Dexter said he left further distribution within each MSO to the ports ops chief.  Rodney Tucker said he was unsure whether Iowa’s plan holders all had current copies of the plan, so he distributed the entire document electronically.  Iowa DNR’s distribution includes local hazmat teams, Iowa emergency management, DNR field offices, and staff within DNR headquarters.


Whitaker raised the question of whether it is reasonable to rely on people who receive the plan electronically to print it out.  Dexter said he does not necessarily see the need to print the plan, stressing that the important thing is to ensure people have access to it when they need it.  John Grump said people will not print the plan if they receive it electronically and encouraged hardcopy distribution as a key means of encouraging responders to familiarize themselves with the plan.


Eddie McGlasson said he discussed distribution of the UMR plan with Scott Hayes and followed Hayes’ previous practice of not distributing the document to staff within Region 7.  Instead, the updated plan is maintained in the Region 7 Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and OSCs are notified when there are updates to ensure they have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the changes.  Stan Kalinoski said he is still trying to determine an appropriate distribution strategy within Minnesota and has not yet done anything with the January 2003 updates.  Grump reported that he followed his standard practice of distributing paper copies of the updates, with a memo explaining the changes.  Grump said his 33-member distribution list consists of field wardens for the counties along the river, environmental responders who work on the river, three Level A hazmat teams that have the river within their response area, Wisconsin DNR’s central office, and the regional directors for the three DNR units that border the river. 


Steve Faryan said EPA Region 5 OSCs have told him that they do not want personal copies of the UMR plan.  Faryan said he maintains a copy in the Region 5 EOC.  Naramore said she has received confirmation that the updated plan has been received and distributed within the Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, and the St. Paul and Rock Island Districts of the Corps.  No information is available from the Corps’ Mississippi Valley Division or St. Louis District. 


Naramore noted that some agencies appear to be having difficulty with plan distribution and observed that accounts from several recent incidents indicate that the UMR plan’s protocols are not being implemented consistently.  In light of these trends, Naramore urged Spills Group members to carefully consider the question of whether the plan still serves a useful purpose and is worth maintaining.  She noted that the landscape has changed considerably since the plan was first developed to address an interjurisdictional void on the UMR.  In addition, she cautioned that the state and federal agencies may find themselves in a very difficult situation if they are signatory to a document that includes protocols that they do not consistently follow.  Finally, she observed that maintaining the plan requires considerable effort and asked whether this effort might be better directed to other areas. 


Kalinoski said that the size of the UMR plan makes it daunting, and suggested that a simplified plan might be more effective.  Grump said he uses the plan routinely and finds that it provides critical information.  He noted that some data, such as the information on commodities transported by barge, could probably be eliminated.  Carol McAllister said she finds Appendix D, including the commodities information, to be quite useful.  Naramore observed that Grump and McAllister’s perspectives illustrate why the plan looks the way it does — i.e., the plan’s contents are essentially additive in nature and different people want different things in the plan.  Naramore suggested that it is time to step back and examine the plan in its entirety.  Faryan said EPA responders use the resource lists extensively and encouraged that they be maintained.


Grump said the plan’s protocols, such at the in-situ burning guidelines, are also useful.  Kalinoski emphasized local responders will always dictate what is actually done, regardless of the protocols that may be in place.  Grump said he has not found this to be the case on the UMR, where locals are kept informed, but are not typically asked for permission/consent before response actions are taken.  McAllister said she believes the protocols function as a preparedness element, while the resource appendices serve as the plan’s response element.


Dexter acknowledged that he is not an end-user of the plan and said the Coast Guard’s perspectives on the plan’s usefulness should be sought from the MSOs and their detachments.  In general, he said the Coast Guard is aware of the plan.  However, its personnel are not going to familiarize themselves with it in detail in advance of an incident.  Instead, they are likely to turn to it in the event of a spill and see whether it can be useful.  He noted that the UMR Spill Plan is only one of several references available to any particular Coast Guard unit.


Grump suggested developing a list of questions that responders may need to answer in responding to a spill on the UMR as a way of familiarizing them with the plan’s content. 


Dexter suggested polling plan users before making decisions concerning the document’s future and related training and outreach issues.  Whitaker and Faryan agreed that input from plan users would be helpful.  McAllister cautioned that the feedback may be of limited utility if people have not been using the plan.  After further discussion, it was agreed that Naramore would draft a survey for the group’s consideration.  After incorporating the group’s input, she will distribute a final version, which the agency POCs will then be responsible for circulating to their plan holders.  POCs will have the option of conducting the survey via phone or using a printed version.  Further discussion of potential plan modifications and related training and outreach issues will be deferred until after the survey results are available.


Public Access Version


Naramore reminded Spills Group members that the group devised an interim strategy for public access to the UMR Spill Plan shortly after September 11, 2001.  Under that approach, public access was limited to the plan portion of the document, and all of the resource appendices were restricted.  Naramore said that this is how the plan is currently posted on the UMRBA’s web site.  With each of the signatory agencies having had time to revise its own standards governing public information, Naramore suggested that it is time to develop a more targeted approach to limiting access to potentially sensitive information in the UMR plan.  Grump concurred, noting that much of the resource appendix information is not sensitive.  McAllister and McGlasson observed that there are many other sources for the information contained in the appendices.  However, McAllister said she still favors restricting access to some of this information, including intake locations and pipeline crossings.  Noting that not all of the signatory agencies were present at the meeting, Naramore said she would query the Spills Group via e-mail regarding what information in the UMR plan should be suppressed in the public access version.




Naramore suggested deferring discussion of updates to several resource listings and development of an integrated resource list by river mile until after the survey of plan users has been completed.  McGlasson offered an update to one of the EPA Region 7 contact numbers.


Planning and Mapping Updates


Gary Haden reported that Margie Daniels of the UMRBA staff provided considerable assistance in converting the Quad Cities Sub-Area Plan to Microsoft Word and preparing it for web posting.  The public access version of the Quad Cities plan is now posted on the UMRBA’s web site (http://www.umrba.org/hazspills/quadcitiesplan.pdf).  Daniels is also assisting with the Greater St. Louis Sub-Area Plan, which is almost ready for posting (note:  subsequently posted at (http://www.umrba.org/hazspills/stlouisplan.pdf).   Haden also reported that the Quad Cities Sub-Area Committee will be meeting shortly after conclusion of today’s Spills Group meeting.  Barb Naramore reported that UMRBA staff are in the process of updating the Minneapolis/St. Paul Sub-Area Plan (http://www.umrba.org/hazspills/twincitiesplan.pdf).  The updated plan will be included on CD with the forthcoming updated and expanded Twin Cities/St. Croix inland sensitivity maps. 


Steve Faryan reported that the first round sensitivity maps for all of Region 5 and adjacent areas should be completed by the end of FY 03.  Naramore added that the partner agencies have devised an updating approach that should result in sensitivity maps for two Region 5 states being updated each year.  As part of these updates, a hazmat data layer will be added.


Naramore recounted the Spills Group’s previous consideration of a special UMR CD that would include the sensitivity maps and tables for the UMR corridor, the UMR Spill Plan, and UMR sub-area contingency plans.  She asked whether members remain interested in such a CD and whether additional content should be included.  Harvey Dexter, John Whitaker, and Steve Faryan encouraged creation of a UMR CD.  John Grump asked whether maps and tables for the entire corridor along with all of the plans could be included on a single CD.  Naramore said she believed this would be possible, but that file sizes had not yet been verified.  Grump emphasized the importance of clear instructions, noting that, with this much content, it would be easy for users to become confused.  No Spills Group members suggested any additions to the basic content that Naramore outlined.


Agency Updates and Reports on Recent Incidents


John Grump reported on a recent diesel release at a hospital complex.  Approximately 1,200 gallons of diesel overflowed during the filling of two 25,000 gallon tanks on the grounds.  The fuel reached a storm sewer.  Since the incident, the hospital has revamped its plans and procedures.


Barb Naramore reminded members that the UMRBA’s web site contains a variety of Spills Group information, including meeting announcements, minutes, and contact information.  In addition, the site also provides the public access versions of the UMR Spill Plan and various sub-area plans, as well as information and links related to the early warning monitoring and inland sensitivity mapping efforts. 


Steve Faryan said there was a spill on the Nemadji River in northwestern Wisconsin this past winter.  Faryan said response efforts, which involved Wisconsin, EPA, and the Coast Guard, went well.  Most of the product was recovered on top of ice.  Faryan also reported that EPA and the Coast Guard have been unable to determine a source for the April 2002 Rouge River spill in Detroit.  The mixed waste oil released has confounded fingerprinting efforts.


Stan Kalinoski reported that approximately 25,000 gallons of jet fuel have been lost at the Twin Cities international airport.  Some of the fuel has reached the Minnesota River.  The source of the release has not been determined, though it is presumed to have come from operations of either the Metropolitan Airports Commission or Northwest Airlines. 


Other Business


John Grump suggested the possibility of holding the Spills Group’s next meeting in conjunction with the September Cape Girardeau exercise.  Other members expressed concern given the relative remoteness of the location and the commitments that several Spills Group members would have related to the exercise.  Barb Naramore agreed to query the full Spills Group concerning this option versus an October meeting in the Quad Cities.  [Note:  Subsequent to the April 15-16 meeting, the next Spills Group meeting was set for October 22‑23 in the Quad Cities.]


With no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:40 a.m.