Regional Response Team
30 June 2000
I. MAJOR ACTIVITIES.
A. MAJOR/NOTEWORTHY RESPONSE ACTIVITIES AND LESSONS LEARNED:
1) On January 19, 2000, heavy ice hit the tank barge ENERGIZER while isomerate (gas additive) was being loaded at the Tesoro/KPL dock. This caused the mooring lines to break and the barge to pull away from the dock. The transfer hose then broke away from the barge at the manifold. Facility personnel were able to shut down the transfer operation before the transfer hose broke away, limiting the size of the release. The vessel hull sustained minor scrapes, but the dock was significantly damaged. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) and the USCG continue to coordinate in identifying special operating procedures and restrictions for vessels and barges operating in Cook Inlet during severe icing conditions.
2) On February 1, a locomotive lost an estimated 2,300 gallons of diesel at two locations at the Anchorage Yard Roundhouse. The fuel leaked from a drain valve that had been wired open following maintenance. A worker discovered the release when he noticed that the locomotive was out of fuel. About 500 gallons were released onto ice-covered asphalt on the eastside of the roundhouse and an additional 1800 gallons were released on gravel on the west-side. Alaska Railroad crews used heavy equipment to remove contaminated ice, which was processed through an oil/water separator. A vacuum truck was also on site for collecting contaminated water.
3) On February 11, a severe fire forced the evacuation of the crew from the 140-ft crabber/tender, F/V AMERICAN STAR. The vessel subsequently ran aground near Cape Lazaref on the southeast side of Unimak Island, Alaska and rolled on its port side. It then righted itself sometime Saturday night, February 12th and was driven hard aground by a strong southeast wind. The grounding is within the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge and had the potential to spill 26,564 gallons diesel, 200 gallons of hydraulic fluid and 100 gallons of lube oil. Six heavy-duty, 4,300 gallon bladders were brought to the site, three by Coast Guard Helicopter and three by Magone’s salvage vessel, the M/V Redeemer. All of the bladders were placed in the lined containment area by the Coast Guard helicopter. An electric fence, provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, has been erected around the fuel storage area to protect it from inquisitive bears. Lightering of fuel from the F/V American Star to the bladders commenced the afternoon of March 15. After completion of lightering, the salvors will concentrate on re-floating the vessel. A three or four day period of calm weather is required. If weather conditions remain adverse, the vessel will be re-ballasted so it does not "work" with the surf and salvage will be attempted later in the season when weather forecasts are more favorable. Likewise, the transfer of the fuel in the bladders to the M/V Redeemer will depend upon calm weather. A liner has been placed in a natural depression, near the vessel and above the storm berm.
4) On February 25, the M/V PACSUN, a 539-ft Liberian flag lumbership, went aground at Ice Bay north of Yakutat, Alaska. The vessel was refloated without incident on February 28th. During the survey work and while waiting for the propulsion test, a Sea Curtain containment boom was placed around the vessel as a precaution. No pollution was noted.
5) Late in the afternoon of March 15, 2000, the crew of the M/V SEALAND KODIAK reported to Marine Safety Detachment Kodiak and Kodiak Fire and Rescue that a propane cylinder in a container flat on their vessel appeared to have broken loose and was leaking. Coast Guard and local fire officials responded as the vessel moored at the Sealand dock in Kodiak. Preliminary investigation found that a 40-foot propane cylinder filled with nearly 29,000 pounds of liquid propane had collapsed its foundation cradle in the container flat it was welded on and was rolling three feet back and forth. As the SEALAND KODIAK surged up to 5 feet at the dock with a heavy swell, responders secured the cylinder with dunnage and removed other hazardous containers from the surrounding area. The next day, the cylinder was further chained to the container flat. CSX corporation employees, local longshoremen and crews from Kodiak Oil Sales worked with public responders to transfer all but 70 gallons of the propane to trucks on the dock. Following the transfer, the damaged container flat and cylinder was lifted to the dock by crane. Subsequently, the tank was purged twice to remove all remaining propane and partially filled with carbon dioxide before being shipped to Seattle for repairs and recertification. It is estimated that approximately 29 gallons of propane leaked from sheered valves throughout this incident.
During this response, another propane flat on the vessel also was found to have cracks in its cradle system. This container was restricted until temporary repairs were made. Following the repairs the container was transported to Dutch Harbor, emptied and then shipped to Seattle for repairs and recertification.
As part of the investigation surrounding this incident, RSPA, USCG and industry representatives reviewed the certification of this particular style of tanks. RSPA is in the process of requiring the cylinders and container flats to be modified and recertified. This will be an eight-month process. In the meantime, USCG Captain of the Port Puget Sound is closely inspecting propane cylinders outbound from their port to ensure interim changes have been made.
The positive outcome of this response highlights the need for planning and drills as have been emphasized by this committee over the last few years. The responders in Kodiak were all familiar with one another and more comfortable with hazardous material response. Because of the comprehensive drill held in Kodiak November 1999 greatly contributed to the outstanding response. After this incident, the local fire department is coordinating for further drills addressing propane incidents. Additionally, the cooperative efforts to include industry in such further helps secure their outstanding willingness to assist in times of crises, as was seen in this case. Letters of Appreciation were presented to a local tug company, Kodiak Oil Sales and Kodiak Fire and Rescue.
6) On March 24, 2000, 8:05am snow collapsed the roof of the seafood processing plant and damaged an ammonia vessel. No injuries have been reported. Valdez Fire Department discovered a ¾ inch line between two tanks was damaged and leaking. Valves on the two tanks were closed when the firemen made their entry. A light wind from the NW was blowing the ammonia vapors towards Port Valdez. The Coast Guard closed marine waters a half-mile area around the seafood plant. Upon completion of the Valdez Fire Departments inspection it was determined that the ammonia discharge was limited to a 30 foot section of ¾ inch piping and the contents of the compressor system. Both valves between the primary storage tanks were closed and did not leak. Because two smaller ammonia storage tanks can still be impacted by falling snow from the roof, the Valdez Fire Department has developed additional response plans in the event further ammonia release is unavoidable.
7) On March 24th, an estimated 84,360 gallons of aviation gasoline was released to the lined containment area when the bottom of the tank failed at West Coast Aviation, Unalakleet, Alaska. The entire contents of the tank were lost in approximately 30 minutes. Most of the product was recovered using pumps. The major risk was explosion, but inhalation exposure was also a concern. The Unalakleet Police Department provided crowd control by cornering off the area and informing citizens of the fire hazard. One family was evacuated prior to the exclusion zone being established, as the occupants could smell fumes even though they were sheltered in place.
1) International Oil & Ice Workshop – April 5-7, 2000, Anchorage, AK. The Workshop provided an opportunity for experts from different countries to meet and discuss topics related to spill risk, spill prevention, oil fate and behavior, and spill response in ice covered waters. The workshop combined a traditional conference venue in Anchorage with an optional field trip to Prudhoe Bay to witness response demonstrations in an arctic setting. The primary goals of the Workshop were:
Key Topics of the Workshop were: Oil Fate and Behavior in Ice Conditions; Seasonal Ice Environment; Surveillance, Monitoring, Tracking and Modeling; Arctic Oil Spill Response Strategies and Tactics; Oil Spill Prevention for Exploration and Development in Ice Prone Environments; Design Criteria for Ice Capable Vessels; Case Studies of Arctic Oilfield Exploration and Development; and Case Studies of Arctic Oil spill Response.
The Workshop was hosted by Alaska Clean Seas and included the following sponsor organizations: Norwegian Clean Seas Association for Operating Companies; Prince William Sound Oil Spill Recovery Institute; Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation; U. S. Mineral Management Service; U. S. Coast Guard; U. S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage; BP Exploration Alaska; Exxon Mobile USA; Alyeska Pipeline Service Company; Cook Inlet & Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Councils; Clean Seas Caribbean; and Phillips Petroleum.
2) CANUS North Exercise: The CANUSNORTH Table Top Exercise TTX was held during 11-12 April 20000 in Anchorage, Alaska. This exercise was comprised of a panel of various agencies as part of a tabletop discussion. Two panels were created to discuss specific issues as it related to their field of interest. The discussion was centered on a spill response scenario in the Beaufort Sea, and required individuals to address legal issues, waste management, wildlife hazing, capture, and rehabilitation, and resolve situations that were presented by the facilitator.
3) Copper River Delta Equipment and Deployment GRS Exercise, Cordova, AK –April 17-20.
This three-day exercise was designed to test the viability of the tactics selected for area 1 of the Prince William Sound (PWS) Geographic Response Strategies (GRS) for the Copper River Delta and Flats. The exercise conditions were extreme with winds averaging 30 mph and tidal currents of 3 knots providing continuous challenges for the field operations. The lessons learned from this drill will be applied to modify and improve the GRS tactics as appropriate.
4) Homer VOSS, week of 24 April - Training consisted of 1st Responder Training, HAZWOPER training, and field instruction on the deployment of USCG VOSS and U. S. Navy response equipment. Coast Guard Seventeenth District DRAT, CG Pacific Strike Team, one USCG WLB (CGC SEDGE), MSO Anchorage/MSD Kenai, MSO Valdez, MSO Juneau, CG MLCPAC IH Detachment Kodiak, ADEC, CHADUX Inc., CISPRI, NAVSUPSALV, harbormasters, and cleanup contractors participated in the training.
5) Northwest Cruise Ship Association (NWCA) Response Barge Training, Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve - May 8-9 and June 6-7. The first training for Southeast Alaska Petroleum Resource Organization’s, Inc (SEAPRO) new Gustavus Response Team was held May 8-9. Classroom training was held on May 8 with on-water practical training on the new response barge set conducted on May 9th. This was the first training and exercise held with the new response barges funded by member companies of the NWCA. Design features, which could be modified in barge sets under construction, were taken by SEAPRO from the response team during a debrief. The June 5-6 deployment exercise was held in conjunction with the annual joint ADEC/USCG/NPS response training. The Glacier Bay response barge set was deployed and further tested during the on-water portion of the training/exercise.
6) Prince William Sound Geographic Response Strategy (GRS) Drill, Valdez, AK – Week of June 5. Tabletop and Field Deployment. The drill was held over a period of three days. On Day 1 (June 6), the participants and observers were shuttled to the GRS sites for overall site familiarization and assessment. On Day 2, the participants convened in the Valdez Emergency Operations Center and developed the GRS for each site. On Day 3, the participants deployed to the GRS sites again to observe the actual implementation of the GRS for each site.
C. ARRT MEETINGS: One ARRT meeting was held during this period: February 23, 2000 in Juneau, AK.
D. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE: No reports this period.
E. WILDLIFE PROTECTION WORKING GROUP (WPWG):
1) Canada/U.S. Wildlife Response Planning: Dixon Entrance
The final summary for the September 15, 1999, wildlife response workshop, held in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, in conjunction with a Canada/U.S. Dixon Entrance (CANUSDIX) exercise, was completed and distributed. The summary was included by both Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) representatives in the CANUSDIX exercise report.
A joint CANUSDIX Wildlife Response Working Group, co-chaired by Environment Canada and the Department of the Interior (DOI), was formed to develop a joint wildlife response plan to be used following the activation of the CANUS annex for Dixon Entrance. Work was begun with DOI, Environment Canada, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and DOI-Fish and Wildlife Service representatives on working group action items.
The DOI CANUSDIX Wildlife Response Working Group Co-Chairperson presented a paper entitled "Joint Canada/U.S. Wildlife Response Planning: Dixon Entrance" at the March 30-31, 2000 "International Effects of Oil on Wildlife Conference" in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
2) Canada/U.S. Wildlife Response Planning: Beaufort Sea
DOI represented U.S. wildlife resource agencies on the design team for an upcoming CCG and USCG CANUSNORTH exercise, which was held in Anchorage on April 10-11, 2000. DOI organized a one-day wildlife response workshop, which was held on April 10, in Anchorage in conjunction with the CANUSNORTH exercise. The workshop was attended by Canadian representatives (i.e., Environment Canada and CCG) and U.S. representatives from Alaska (i.e., DOI, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS); and U.S. Department of Commerce, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). The workshop focused on wildlife response activities (e.g., hazing wildlife away from oiled areas and capturing and treating oiled wildlife). Workshop participants agreed it is important to develop a joint wildlife response plan that would be used following the activation of the CANUSNORTH annex. A joint CANUSNORTH Wildlife Response Working Group, which will be co-chaired by Environment Canada and DOI, will be formed to develop a joint wildlife response plan. A workshop summary was prepared and provided to CCG and USCG representatives for inclusion in the CANUSNORTH exercise report.
3) Alaska RRT Wildlife Protection Working Group
A Wildlife Protection Working Group (WPWG) meeting was held on June 21, 2000. The meeting focused on: (1) discussion of updates to the Wildlife Protection Guidelines for Alaska; (2) status report on industry wildlife protection activities in Alaska; (3) status report on Pribilof Islands wildlife protection guidelines; (4) status report on joint CANUS wildlife protection activities; and (5) report on "International Effects of Oil on Wildlife Conference" and pre-conference workshop.
4) Pribilof Islands Wildlife Protection Subgroup
The Pribilof Islands Wildlife Protection Subgroup Chairperson oversaw initial reformatting of the Wildlife Protection Guidelines: Pribilof Islands, which when completed will be provided to the USCG for substitution with the existing version currently on the Alaska RRT web site.
F. CULTURAL RESOURCES WORKING GROUP (CRWG):
The Alaska RRT Cultural Resources Working Group (CRWG) met on January 27, 2000. The meeting focused on discussion of approaches used to date to address historic properties protection in developing Geographic Response Strategies; a revised draft Alaska Implementation Document for the Programmatic Agreement on Protection of Historic Properties During Emergency Response under the National Contingency Plan (Programmatic Agreement); and implementation of the Programmatic Agreement. The USCG reported they are continuing work on establishing Basic Ordering Agreements for individuals who could serve as an Historic Properties Specialists in accordance with the Programmatic Agreement. The revised draft Alaska Implementation Document was distributed to CRWG members and Federal On Scene Coordinators for review.
The CRWG Chairperson organized a session on the protection of cultural resources for a February 7-11, 2000, Alaska Forum on the Environment. Four CRWG members participated: (1) Judy Bittner (the Alaska State Historic Preservation Officer) chaired the session; (2) Ted Birkedal (DOI-National Park Service) talked about "Lessons Learned from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill about Protecting Cultural Resources"; (3) Pamela Bergmann (DOI) talked about the "Nationwide Approach for Protecting Cultural Resources During Oil Spills and How it Related to Alaska"; and Chris Wooley (Chumis Cultural Resources Services) talked about "Compiling Cultural Resources Information for Use during Oil Spills."
II. GENERAL PREPAREDNESS AND CONTINGENCY PLANNING.
A. STATE/LOCAL/INDUSTRY LIAISON:
1) Hazmat Response Exercise – Unalaska, week of 24 April - The Unalaska HazMat Project provided training and knowledge to prevent and respond defensively to an extremely hazardous substance (EHS) release in Unalaska. Recent hazards analyses conducted for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) have identified communities at risk from EHS such as chlorine and ammonia. These two chemicals are commonly targeted EHS for HazMat release prevention and response planning, primarily because of their prevalence in Alaskan communities at seafood processors and water and wastewater facilities. Recent capability assessments of Level A/B HazMat response have indicated that most Alaskan communities do not possess an offensive HazMat response capability. The Municipality of Anchorage and the Fairbanks North Star Borough are the only communities that maintain fully capable Level A/B HazMat Teams. Through formal community response agreements, these teams may be requested by the ADEC State On-Scene Coordinator (SOSC) to respond to any location in the state. There are many remote locations, however, where logistical limitations could prevent the timely arrival of a HazMat Team. Unalaska is one of these locations.
A number of organizations, including the ADEC, the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the City of Unalaska, Anchorage and Fairbanks HazMat Teams, and Unalaska seafood processing facilities developed the Unalaska HazMat Project. Shannon & Wilson, Inc., and the Ammonia Group provided project coordination and specialized consulting and academic training on anhydrous ammonia and chlorine.
The objectives of the Unalaska HazMat Project were:
Classroom training and the tabletop exercise were held and live ammonia release demonstrations were conducted at the landfill area on Summer Bay Road. Sixty-six participants, including trainers and facilitators, attended some portion of the training. Fifty-one participants attended ammonia training on April 25, 65 participants attended chlorine and/or ICS training on April 26, and the tabletop exercise had 40 participants. ADEC coordinated logistical support requirements (accommodations for work group members, ground transportation, presentation equipment, etc.). The USCG provided funding for student workbooks and for chemical training on chlorine and ammonia.
2) Northwest Cruise Ship Association – Spill Response Enhancements: On May 9th a dedication ceremony was held in Juneau for the first set of four response barges to be placed in Southeast Alaska. Additionally, the Northwest Cruise Association used the dedication as a prime opportunity to sign a 15-year response contract with Southeast Alaska Petroleum Resource Organization, Inc. (SEAPRO), Southeast Alaska’s only spill response organization. Immediately after the dedication the response barges were moved to their staging site, Bartlett Cove in Glacier Bay, where they will remain ready to respond to any incident throughout the 2000 tour ship season.
B. TRAINING: Two personnel from the Seventeenth District Response Advisory Team (DRAT) conducted 8 hour HAZWOPER training for 19 units. Three Hundred and Twenty Eight (328) people were trained.
C. FEDERAL/STATE UNIFIED PLAN AND SUBAREA PLANS:
1) Unified Plan: Change 2 was completed and distributed. Reformatting the Unified Plan to the ICS format is underway. Copies of the Alaska Incident Management System Guide were provided to the ARRT members during the February meeting, along with a letter of endorsement from the ARRT co-chairs. The AIMS Guide will be considered a working copy, and ARRT members were encouraged to provide suggested improvements to the ARRT co-chairs.
2) Subarea Contingency Plans:
a. Southeast SCP: No change in status. The State (DEC) and MSO Juneau have met to discuss reactivation of the Subarea Committee. The Southeast Alaska Sensitive Areas Work Group also met on June 15 to update the Sensitive Areas section of the plan in preparation for the development of Change 1 to the plan.
b. Prince William Sound SCP: Change 1 was completed and copies were distributed. The next major initiative is the development of geographic response strategies for selected sites in Prince William Sound. The PWS Geographic Response Strategy Working Group has met on several occasions during this reporting period. During the May 9-10 meeting, trustee agencies and locals presented information on nominated areas for the creation of geographic response strategies (GRS). The work group had previously agreed to divide the PWS region into five zones, with the bulk of the Sound divided into quadrants and the Copper River flats and delta area as the fifth zone. Industry has agreed to develop 20 GRS for PWS, and the work group has decided to develop five GRS in each quadrant. In looking at the northeast quadrant, representatives from Tatitlek nominated the village and seven neighboring areas for development of GRS. Trustee agencies nominated five other sensitive areas within this quadrant. The group agreed on five sites. The five included three of those nominated by Tatitlek, and SeaRiver Shipping Company will develop the GRS for these three sites as part of the PWS GRS drill scheduled for the first week of June. SeaRiver also offered to possibly develop GRS for the remaining sites that did not get selected by the work group but had been chosen by Tatitlek.
c. Cook Inlet SCP: The Geographic Response Strategies for Central Cook Inlet are complete and will be incorporated in Change 1 in 2000. The Cook Inlet GRS Work Group will continue to develop GRSs for the Northern and Southern Coon Inlet zones.
d. Kodiak SCP: The second set of GRSs have been finalized and will be incorporated as part of Change 1 to the plan.
e. North Slope SCP: The plan has been published and distributed with an effective date of December 1999.
f. Interior SCP: The public review period for this plan was conducted from March 1 through April 30, 2000. During that time, comments were received from a total of four organizations. The EPA and DEC staff reviewed and incorporated a majority of the comments. Formal reply letters were also provided to the commenters. The final plan was published and distributed with an effective date of June 2000.
g. Aleutian SCP: The plan is complete and has been distributed.
h. Northwest Arctic SCP: EPA, USCG, DEC, and DOI staff met twice during this period to discuss development of this plan. During the May 8 meeting, the group decided to develop an initial working draft of the plan. The Coast Guard will distribute and discuss the draft with the local communities in the subarea during the Coast Guard’s upcoming tour of facilities in the region.
i. Bristol Bay and Western Alaska SCPs: The EPA, DEC, USCG, and DOI planning group also discussed development of these plans. While priority was assigned to the development of the Northwest Arctic plan, concurrent activities are underway to develop these two plans.
3) The Federal/International Joint Planning Process: In accordance with the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the United States of America on Cooperation in Combating Pollution in the Bering and Chukchi Seas in Emergency Situations and its associated Joint Response Plan, the representatives of the component bodies for implementing the above Agreement – the Deputy Directorate of the State Marine Pollution Control, Salvage & Rescue Administration under the Ministry of Transportation of the Russian Federation (SMPCSRA) and the U. S. Coast Guard under the Department of Transportation of the United States of America - have conducted the 26th meeting of the Joint Russian-American Task Group on April 4th, 2000 in Anchorage, Alaska. The Protocol to that meeting can be found on the ARRT web site: http://www.akrrt.org.
III. PERSONNEL CHANGES.
B. Mike Hammond assumed the role as FEMA’s primary member to the Alaska Regional Response Team.
IV. ISSUES REQUIRING RRT ACTION.
A. FUTURE PLANS:
1) SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE:
2) WILDLIFE PROTECTION WORKING GROUP:
a) Canada/U.S. Wildlife Response Planning: Dixon Entrance
A preliminary draft joint wildlife response plan will be prepared by the CANUSDIX Wildlife Response Working Group by early September 2000. The document will be discussed at a Canada/U.S. exercise, which will be held in Ketchikan, Alaska, in mid-September 2000.
b) Canada/U.S. Wildlife Response Planning: Beaufort Sea
A joint CANUSNORTH Wildlife Response Working Group for the Beaufort Sea area will be formed by September 2000. A preliminary draft joint wildlife response plan will be prepared by early 2001.
c) Alaska RRT Wildlife Protection Working Group
The Wildlife Protection Working Group will work on proposed revisions to the Wildlife Protection Guidelines for Alaska during the remainder of the year 2000.
d) Pribilof Islands Wildlife Protection Subgroup
Reformatting of the Wildlife Protection Guidelines: Pribilof Islands, and an update of contact information in the guidelines is scheduled for completion in late 2000.
3) CULTURAL RESOURCES WORKING GROUP: The next Cultural Resources Working Group (CRWG) meeting is scheduled for July 13, 2000. The meeting will focus on a discussion of comments received on the draft Alaska Implementation Document. The CRWG is working toward submitting a final draft Alaska Implementation Document to the Alaska RRT in early 2001.
The proposal for the next ARRT Meeting is in Pt. Barrow
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