Regional Response Team
I. MAJOR ACTIVITIES.
A. MAJOR/NOTEWORTHY RESPONSE ACTIVITIES:
July 12, 2000 - Alaska Railroad Corporation Ė Train Derailment (578 gallons of unleaded gasoline).
The train derailment occurred at Milepost 152.8 (near Wasilla, AK). Eleven cars derailed, including 5 fuel tank cars. Four of the tank cars slid down a 25-foot embankment. One car was damaged, however railroad personnel were able to stop the leaking fuel by tightening emergency valves. Sorbent boom was deployed around the damaged tanker car as a prevention measure. EPA and ADEC established a Unified Command with the ARRC and local borough government to manage the incident. The local fire department responded to provide foaming capability during lightering operations. A deteriorating rail bed on a problem curve caused the derailment.
August 21, 2000 - BP Gathering Center - Control System Failure (29,400 gallons of crude oil/water + 2,100 gallons of ethylene glycol).
The spill occurred at the Prudhoe Bay facility when the control system failed and the Overflow Skim Oil Tank failed to contain the release. Wells were shut down to decrease flow to the gathering center. All of the crude/water spill was contained in a lined containment cell surrounding the tank. An estimated 2,100 gallons of ethylene glycol was also spilled during the incident. Almost all of the glycol was contained within the building where the spill occurred. Approximately 40 gallons of glycol leaked out of the building into lined containment. Vacuum trucks were used to recover the spilled crude and ethylene glycol.
September 11, 2000 - Tug Millenium Star - Grounding (minor spill, potential - 60,000 gallons of diesel fuel).
The 99-foot tug grounded on Ulakta Head, near Dutch Harbor. At the time of the accident, the tug had the freight barge Investigator in tow, loaded with containers. CG MSD Unalaska reported that the tug's towing cable prevented the barge from grounding. Local tugs Saratoga, Fish Hawk, and James Dunlap assisted in pulling the Millennium Star off the rocks and towed the vessel to Magone Marine Dock in Dutch Harbor for dive inspection and repairs. A containment boom was deployed and no diesel fuel or other oils were observed leaking from the tug. A light diesel fuel sheen was later observed during the outgoing tide in the vicinity of the grounding, extending seaward approximately 100 yards from the grounding location. CG MSD Unalaska determined that the sheen was uncleanable due to the location and sea conditions. Diesel fuel was suspected to have come from the tug's fuel tank vents when tug experienced severe listing while aground.
September 18, 2000 - Landing Craft DELTA II - Sinking (minor spill, potential - 800 gallons of diesel).
LCM Delta II sank in the Yukon River in the vicinity of Emmonak (approximately 165 air-mile northwest of Bethel in the Yukon Delta region) with 800 gallons of diesel on board. A fresh water intake was located just 2-1/2 miles downstream from the incident scene. Escaping oil was recovered using sorbent boom. The vessel was dewatered and removed from the water during the next day at low tide.
September 21, 2000 - Alaska Nitrogen Products - Ammonia Release (8,000 pounds of ammonia).
A power failure at the Alaska Nitrogen Products' Nikiski facility resulted in the loss of instrument air, which controls the pressure relief valves on ammonia storage tanks. To avoid possible over-pressuring of the storage tanks, these valves are designed to open when instrument air control is lost. The tank in Plant 1 vented for 10 minutes and the tank in Plant 2 vented for 40 minutes, releasing an estimated 8,000 pounds of ammonia. Plant personnel were immediately evacuated. Nine workers were treated for ammonia exposure. Air monitoring outside the facility detected only traces of ammonia. Alaska Nitrogen Products will evaluate the routing of the storage tank pressure relief valves to the plant flare rather than to the atmosphere.
September 27, 2000 - Williams Alaska Petroleum - Underground Pipeline Leak (800 gallons of propylene glycol).
An estimated 800 gallons propylene glycol leaked from an underground line at the Williams Alaska Petroleum facility in North Pole, AK. Several thousand gallons of product mixed with water were pumped from a nearby monitoring well and a recovery well. Groundwater samples from both wells contained glycol and petroleum hydrocarbons from a previous release. The cause of the release and the actual plume size are unknown. It is also unknown if releases of propylene glycol in 1997 and 1998 of 7,400 gallons and 5,000 gallons, respectively, added to the sample discoloration that was observed. Samples from other wells at the facility perimeter tested negative for glycol; however, the wells are shallow and it is unknown if the plume is passing beneath the wells.
October 23, 2000 - TAPS Tanker SEARIVER NORTH SLOPE - Hull Fracture (estimated 1 gallon release of ANS Crude).
While preparing for departure from Valdez, a sheen alongside the Seariver North Slope was detected. The source of the sheen was determined to be an 8 to 10 inch hairline fracture. The sheen was completely contained. A boom and absorbent sweeps were deployed. It is estimated that less than one gallon of fuel was released. Cargo was completely offloaded, temporary repairs were completed, and a permit to proceed to San Francisco and Portland, OR for permanent repairs was approved.
November 21, 2000 - Abandoned Fish Saltery - Fuel Tank Leak (500-1,000 gallons of bunker oil).
On 18 November National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) personnel from the Little Port Walter NMFS Research Station reported an oil sheen near their location on the southern tip of Baranof Island in southeast Alaska (approximately 55 air-miles southeast of Sitka). The source of the spill was a fuel storage tank located at an abandoned fish saltery on U.S. Forest Service property at New Port Walter 1.5-2 miles to the north. An aircraft over-flight of the area detected a 10 x 100 yard oil sheen near the source of the spill, with no other sightings of sheen in or around Port Walter. Estimates indicate that approximately 500-1,000 gallons of oil was released with approximately 100 gallons remaining in the tank. CG MSO Juneau, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) and the U.S. Forest Service formed a Unified Command (UC) to direct the response. Poor weather conditions hampered initial efforts to get response personnel to the scene, but NMFS personnel at the research station were able to provide on scene information to the UC. Sporadic tar balls were observed in the water as well as along the southern shorelines of Port Walter and Clam Island. Tar balls were also found at Back Bay in Port Alexander and in Port Conclusion (approximately 10 air-miles to the south of Port Walter). Two 100-foot lengths of harbor boom (with 100 feet of absorbent boom and 100 feet of pom-poms on a rope) were placed at the source of the spill. A total of 500 feet of harbor boom was deployed around saltwater pens containing juvenile salmon at the Little Port Walter NMFS Research Station. At the entrance to Little Port Walter 400 feet of deflection boom and 200 feet of absorbent boom was deployed. The UC worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and Alaska Raptor Center to mitigate the harmful effects of oil on wildlife. Following a UC site inspection and shoreline assessment on 21 December, it was determined that the tank and impacted shoreline had been cleaned to the satisfaction of the jointly developed "How Clean is Clean" criteria and the case was closed. The UC plans to conduct a springtime site evaluation to check for oil leaching as a result of increased temperatures.
November 28, 2000 - TCSA Electrical Facility - Fuel Tank Spill (600 gallons of arctic grade diesel).
An estimated 600 gallons of diesel fuel spilled when high winds blew a ladder over, which apparently cracked the outlet pipe of a 4,500-gallon bulk fuel tank at the Tuntutuliak Community Services Association (TCSA) electrical facility (approximately 45 air-miles southwest of Bethel). CG MSO Anchorage personnel responded to the spill and response equipment was deployed from the ADEC inland response container at Bethel. The sandy soil around the base of the fuel tank had high concentrations of diesel, and an estimated 365 gallons of free product was recovered. Some vegetation down gradient from the fuel tank was contaminated and 200+ gallons of product flowed into a nearby frozen pond. Clean-up workers cut holes into the ice and recovered the oil with absorbent pads. The outlet to the pond was boomed to prevent the fuel from going into the Quinaq River. 427 gallons were recovered by 29 December, and sorbents are being applied to light sheening that occurs in the pond during high tides. The site will be monitored throughout the winter and spring break-up to minimize the spread of contamination.
B. RRT MEETINGS: One ARRT meeting was held on November 1, 2000 in Anchorage, AK. The agenda and minutes are posted on the AK RRT website at http://www.akrrt.org.
C. COMMITTEE AND WORKING GROUP UPDATES:
(1) WILDLIFE PROTECTION WORKING GROUP (WPWG).
During September 2000 the Canada/US Dixon Entrance Wildlife Response Working Group met in Ketchikan, AK. They reviewed a preliminary draft of the Wildlife Response Guidelines for the Canada/US Dixon Annex, to the Canada/US Marine Spill Pollution Contingency Plan, and participated in the tabletop exercise. The working group agreed to focus its efforts on completing a draft version of the guidelines, so wildlife response issues may be included in the next CANUSDIX exercise, which is scheduled for 2001.
(2) CULTURAL RESOURCES WORKING GROUP (CRWG).
The CRWG met on July 11, 2000. The meeting focused primarily on discussion of revisions made to the draft Programmatic Agreement on Protection of Historic Properties During Emergency Response under the National Contingency Plan: Alaska Implementation Guidelines. Additional comments were provided to the CRWG chairperson by the USCG and EPA CRWG representatives in mid-October. CRWG State and Federal archaeologists are in the process of reviewing those comments. Following their review, a meeting will be scheduled to discuss the comments.
CRWG Federal and State Archaeologists worked with the USCG CRWG representative to discuss comments raised during the public review of the Kodiak Geographic Response Strategies concerning the language regarding historic properties. Consensus was reached on a wording change that clarifies that all response strategies are to be implemented "as circumstances of the emergency allow".
II. GENERAL PREPAREDNESS AND CONTINGENCY PLANNING.
(1) CGD17 (drat) conducted 15 HAZWOPER classes (Awareness and Operations-Oil Levels) throughout Alaska. 311 responders, from 25 USCG units and other organizations, were trained.
(2) EPA and ADEC offered 46 HAZWOPER classes in rural Alaska. In the next fiscal year they will offer a 24-hour health and safety class along with a 16-hour hands-on course of instruction to provide students with practical experience with spill equipment. This will be done in conjunction with the placement of DEC's spill connexes.
June 6, 2000 - Trans-Alaska Pipeline Drill.
EPA and Alyeska jointly sponsored the one-day exercise. The design team was made up from agencies of the Joint Pipeline Office (e.g. BLM, DNR, DEC, EPA, etc.) and Alyeska. The scenario scripted a worst-case pipeline discharge in the interior of Alaska. The exercise involved an equipment deployment as well as a tabletop exercise. The Alaska National Guard provided logistic transportation equipment, communications equipment, and a Blackhawk helicopter for heavy lift capability.
September 12-14, 2000 - PREP Industry-Led Area Exercise.
Sea Coast Towing, Inc. (Seattle, WA) sponsored a PREP exercise in Ketchikan. The exercise included an ICS section-specific training workshop, a command post tabletop that reinforced the ICS training, and an equipment deployment. Participants included USCG, SEAPRO, ADEC, ADFG, ADNR, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and NOAA. The after action report is available online at: http://www.akrrt.org/areaex/
October 11, 2000 - Swanson River Drill.
UNOCAL sponsored the exercise. The scenario involved a pipeline break caused by a vehicular accident, with 200 gallons of crude going into the Swanson River. One of the major objectives was the exercising of fast water booming techniques. A unified command was also instituted. One of the lessons learned was that although it was evident that the participants had a good understanding of the unified command system they were not proficient at it. The exercise provided an excellent opportunity for the participating agencies to jointly work through the issues of the scenario.
November 2, 2000 - North Slope Mutual Aid Drill (MAD).
The tabletop exercise was sponsored by BP and held in Prudhoe Bay. The scenario simulated a well blowout, in which well control was the major issue. BP established a Well Control Group at their Crisis Management Team in Anchorage, as well as a command post at the North Slope. The group effectively developed several response options, along with the risks associated with each. The North Slope Borough representative, originally assigned to the Environmental Section was moved to the Command Section to act as the Local On-Scene Coordinator. Command Staff participants agreed that this was appropriate and extremely beneficial.
November 9, 2000 - Valdez Marine Terminal (VMT) Drill.
The drill was sponsored by Alyeska and took place in Valdez. The drill included a field deployment and tabletop drill which tested the VMT contingency plan, specifically Scenario 3 (a simulated medium discharge from oil storage Tank 2). Several PREP drill objectives were tested, as well as an evaluation of the effectiveness and use of the ResponseTM software for enhancing the operations/planning interface. Participants included industry, ADEC, USCG, and the Prince William Sound RCAC.
C. FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL PLANNING AND COORDINATION EFFORTS:
(1) STATE/LOCAL/INDUSTRY LIAISON.
(a) November 2, 2000 - Statewide HazMat Response Work Group Meeting.
The Statewide HazMat Response Work Group met on November 2nd at the Anchorage Fire Training Center. Items of discussion included: statewide standard operating procedures, funding, a discussion of exercises (recent exercises/responses and future joint training), HazMat release threat analysis, community HazMat projects, clandestine drug lab response, and in-state response capabilities (federal, state, local, and industry components). Workgroup participants included representatives from the Anchorage and Fairbanks HazMat Teams, EPA, USCG, State OSHA, ADEC, the Alaska National Guard, the Division of Emergency Services (ADES), and industry representatives.
(b) October 10-11, 2000 - Cook Inlet Waterways Risk Assessment.
The USCG sponsored a port and waterways safety assessment for Cook Inlet. Representatives from the COE, ADEC, Port of Anchorage, industry facilities, fishing vessel organizations, the RCAC were involved. The focus of the meeting was to review the risks that exist in Cook Inlet with relationship to vessel traffic.
(2) FEDERAL/STATE UNIFIED PLAN AND SUBAREA PLANS.
(a) Alaska Unified Plan.
Plan Reformatting Project. A project was initiated to reformat the Unified Plan into sections corresponding to an ICS organization. A contractor is currently resolving conversion problems to facilitate posting to the ARRT website. The conversion should be completed by January 2001 at which time the ARRT members (including all federal and state OSC's) will review the reformatted document to determine if it provides the same information in a more user friendly format for use throughout Alaska in both the coastal and inland zones. Unresolved issues include the potential impact on the ten subarea plans, industry contingency plans, other federal, state, and local emergency plans which cross-reference the current Unified Plan, and the overall cost of reproducing and distributing hard copies of the reformatted plan.
Alaska Incident Management System (AIMS) Guide. A pocket-sized version of the AIMS Guide was prepared and distributed to the ARRT members and the Alaska response community in general. ARRT members have been requested to provide comments and suggested improvements to the guide by March 31, 2001. The AIMS Guide will be considered for incorporation as part of the Unified Plan after reviewing comments.
(b) Subarea Contingency Plans (SCP). In an effort to ensure maximum government-to-government coordination with the federally-recognized tribes, EPA, USCG, and DEC have made a concerted effort to coordinate and solicit inputs from the tribes in the Western Alaska, Bristol Bay, and Northwest Arctic subareas prior to and during the public review process of these plans. Continued emphasis will be placed on government-to-government coordination for other subarea plans during periodic updates and revisions.
Southeast SCP. The Southeast Alaska Sensitive Areas Work Group has met on several occasions during this period. The primary focus of their discussion was prioritizing sensitive areas for future Geographic Response Strategy (GRS) development, as well as updating the sensitive areas section of the plan.
Prince William Sound SCP. The PWS Geographic Response Strategy Working Group has met on several occasions during this reporting period, and development of GRSs continues for this subarea.
Cook Inlet SCP. The Geographic Response Strategies for Central Cook Inlet are complete and will be incorporated as part of Change 1 to the plan. The GRSs for Northern Cook Inlet are near completion. A Work Group will begin development of GRSs for the Southern Cook Inlet zone in the near future.
Kodiak SCP. The second set of GRSs have undergone public review and will be incorporated as part of Change 1 to the plan.
North Slope SCP. No change in status. The plan was published and distributed with an effective date of December 1999.
Interior SCP. No change in status. The final plan was published and distributed with an effective date of June 2000.
Aleutian SCP. No change in status. The plan is complete and has been distributed with an effective date of September 1999.
Northwest Arctic SCP. The final draft of the plan is undergoing public review. Publication of the plan is anticipated in early Spring 2001, after a review and incorporation of appropriate comments received during the public review period.
Bristol Bay SCP. The final draft of the plan is undergoing public review. Publication of the plan is anticipated in early Spring 2001, after a review and incorporation of appropriate comments received during the public review period.
Western Alaska SCP. The final draft of the plan is undergoing public review. Publication of the plan is anticipated in early Spring 2001, after a review and incorporation of appropriate comments received during the public review period.
(c) Miscellaneous Planning Issues.
Alaska Task Force on Motorized Oil Transport. The Alaska Task Force on Motorized Oil Transport, chartered by the Alaska Legislature last spring, has issued its final report on financial responsibility and oil spill response planning requirements for non-tank vessels of more than 400 gross tons and for railroad tank cars. The task force recommends the following for non-tank vessels operating in Alaska waters: meet state financial responsibility requirements; designate a Qualified Individual (QI) able to make decisions regarding spill response; have a response plan that includes initial notification procedures, contract with a primary response action contractor (RAC) to contain and control 15 percent of the maximum oil capacity of the vessel, and a contract with an incident management team; and meet applicable federal and IMO requirements. With Adobe Acrobat Reader, the report may be accessed at online at: http://www.state.ak.us/dec/nontank/pdf/tfmot_final_rpt.pdf
(3) International Joint Planning Efforts.
(a) September 12-13, 2000 - Canada-US Dixon Entrance Exercise.
The annual CANUSDIX tabletop and equipment deployment exercise was held in Ketchikan in conjunction with the PREP Industry-Led Area Exercise. The event included a classroom review for Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Team (SCAT) procedures followed by SCAT field training, an international joint wildlife workshop, deployment of offshore and onshore oil response equipment, and a Spill Management Team (SMT) tabletop scenario discussion. The overall objectives were to exercise the CANUSDIX Annex to the Joint Plan, improve emergency procedures for Dixon Entrance, and expand the working relationships between all participants. The equipment deployments included the first VOSS deployment from the Coast Guardís new 175í "Keeper Class" buoy tender, the CGC ANTHONY PETIT, the logistical use of the Canadian hovercraft CCGHC SIYAY and the first deployment of a Canadian beach washing system. Both Canadian and U.S. industry representatives (shippers and oil spill response organizations) participated in the exercise, as well as government representatives from the USCG, Canadian Coast Guard, USDOI, Environment Canada, ADEC, ADNR, and British Columbia government.
(b) USCG Oil Spill Technician Exchange with Sakhalin, RS.
September 7-19, 2000. Mr. Igor Zhdanov, deputy director of Sakhalin BASU (Russian salvage and oil spill response company) traveled from Sakhalin, Russia to Alaska to increase familiarity and exchange technical information regarding oil spill response. During his visit, he met with response personnel from CG MSO Anchorage, CG MSO Valdez, CG MSO Juneau, CGD17 (m), ADEC, SEAPRO, Alyeska-SERVS, and the Canadian Coast Guard. He participated in a VOSS exercise on the CGC WOODRUSH, SCAT refresher and field training during the CANUSDIX exercise, observed demonstration of Canadian and industry spill response equipment during the PREP Industry-Led Area Exercise in Ketchikan, and he toured the port facilities in Valdez.
October 01-16, 2000. Mr. Rick Janelle (Supervisor, CGD17 DRAT) and LCDR Rick Rodriguez (Chief Officer, Port Operations CG MSO Anchorage) traveled to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk during 01-16 October 2000. The purpose of the trip was for the USCG to exchange two oil spill technicians, as agreed upon in the protocol signed between SMPCSA (State Marine Pollution Control, Salvage and Rescue Administration) and CGD17 (m) in July 2000, and to review the current status of oil spill response capabilities on Sakhalin Island.
Over the past three years, the U.S. Coast Guard and SAKBASU/ECOSHELF have developed strong working relationships. SAKBASU/ECOSHELF is a professional response organization, with strong knowledgeable leadership and an excellent business plan. During the visit, the participants witnessed excellent organizational structure, well developed response strategies, and an outstanding worker training and safety program. Equipment was well maintained, and ready for deployment. Personnel at all levels were committed to being the best. As SAKBASU/ECOSHELF expands into a nationwide organization, the relationships and understandings cultivated by the exchange of personnel, exercises, and joint training will become increasingly important. Sakhalin Island and Alaska share common response concerns and challenges. Both regions have extensive remote bays that are vital for subsistence for local populations, and critical habitat to waterfowl, fish, and marine mammals. The exchange and mutual development of response techniques for shallow water, high current areas is recommended. Future exchange of technical personnel should concentrate on deployment strategies for protection of these sensitive areas.
III. PERSONNEL CHANGES.
Mitch Deely was hired as the new RRT coordinator for CGD17 (Juneau), effective 19 November 2000. Contact information: Phone: (907) 463-2816, Fax: (907) 463-2820, E-mail: email@example.com.
IV. ISSUES OR OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS REQUIRING NRT ATTENTION.
None to Report.
Lessons Learned from Exercises, Incidents,
1. Event Name - 2000 PWS Tanker Drill
Exercise planners should let the needs of the response community drive the design of exercises and consider innovative ways to meet those needs during exercises.
4. Point of Contact - Rick Janelle, USCG D17, firstname.lastname@example.org, 907-463-2802
5. Lesson Learned Title - International Exercise Design
Exercise planners conducting international exercises should consider including industry as players in the exercise. The maturity level of the plan and the relationship with the other nationís planners must also be considered. A well-defined plan and solid working relationship increases the likelihood that industry player would be beneficial.
4. Point of Contact - Mitch Deely, USCG D17, email@example.com , 907-463-2802
5. Lesson Learned Title - Innovative Exercise Design
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