ALASKA REGIONAL RESPONSE TEAM
1 JULY 1998 - 31 DECEMBER 1998
I. MAJOR ACTIVITIES.
A. MAJOR/NOTEWORTHY RESPONSE ACTIVITIES:
1) Icicle Seafoods - July 1, 98, Homer: A high pressure line broke during the removal of an ammonia receiver, resulting in a explosion, fire, and a release of 35,000 pounds of ammonia at the Icicle plant in Homer, AK. The Homer fire department responded to the incident and immediately evacuated personnel from the plant, the Homer Spit, and Halibut Cove. A mixed plume of smoke and ammonia was released from the site. Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) responded to Homer and placed the Anchorage HAZMAT Team on standby. An ammonia HAZMAT specialist from Unocal Chemical Plant provided technical assistance to shut off the main and secondary valves feeding ammonia to the refrigeration system.
2) M/V Milos Reefer - St. Matthew Island: The M/V Milos Reefer grounded on St. Matthew Island in November 1989 with an unknown quantity of petroleum products on board. The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed sheening and tar balls from the grounded vessel on July 8, 1998. It is believed that residual clingage of fuel tanks most likely is the source of the sheen. The vessel has rusted and deteriorated to the point where the tanks may be exposed to the elements, allowing the residual fuel to be washed into the water by the surf. As much as 2,000 gallons of fuel remains in the vessel tanks. Extensive wildlife resources are in the immediate area. Seabirds are nesting on the shoreline next to the vessel as well as swimming in large rafts in the Sarichef Strait. Approximately 100-200 walrus were spotted in various locations in the vicinity. Large numbers of gray whales are known to be in the area.
3) Barge ST 20 Grounding - August 12, 1998 - Yukon River: CG MSO Anchorage received a report that the tank barge ST-20 missed a channel and ran hard aground in the Yukon River, approximately 2 miles west of Tanana, AK and 25 miles upstream of the Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge. The vessel was reported to be carrying 145,000 gals of #1 & #2 diesel fuel. There was no damage or leaks reported. The incident was located in "Inland Zone" and EPA acted as Federal OSC for response operations. Personnel from the CG Pacific Strike Team and MSO Anchorage assisted with the response, provided technical assistance to the EPA OSC concerning barge integrity, and conducted the investigation. The barge was lightered and was pulled free on the rising river.
4) Womanís Bay - September 1, 1998, Kodiak Island: As a results of an internal tank leak, diesel fuel leaked into the fish hold of the vessel L/C Cape Douglas. The fish hold contents were pumped out, releasing 870 gallons of #2 diesel fuel into Womanís Bay on Kodiak Island. A Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Team (SCAT) consisted of ADEC and NOAA staff surveyed the affected shoreline. Cleanup operations focused on removing contaminated debris from the most severely impacted areas. ADNR staff confirmed that no archaeological sites are located in the area affected by the spill.
1) Canadian/U.S. Dixon Entrance Tabletop - The CANUSDIX exercise was held August 24-27, 1998 in Ketchikan, Alaska. The exercise included deployment training for the USCG Vessel of Opportunity Skimming System (VOSS) and SEAPRO FOILEX skimming system, a Spill Management Team (SMT) table top scenario discussion, a contingency planners work session, and a 2 day Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Team (SCAT) training. The tabletop exercise consisted of a facilitated discussion on potential actions for response to an overturned bulk ore vessel leaking heavy bunker fuel in Dixon Entrance. The ship eventually grounded on Haystack Island. The oil spread with tides and weather to remote areas on both sides of the international border.
2) Spill of National Significance (SONS), September 18-24, 1998 - SONS WEST 98 was a BP sponsored exercise designed to evaluate the capabilities of various response organizations in Alaska and their corresponding support organizations at the national and international levels. The exercise was the largest oil spill response drill ever conducted in Alaska, involving more than 600 individual from 65 organizations. Participants from 12 states and four countries took part in the six-day exercise. A major objective of the exercise was logistics: to physically procure and deploy sufficient out-of-region oil spill response resources in Prince William Sound for an oil spill of "catastrophic" size. A second part of the exercise was a tabletop - to test the ability of a Unified Command consisting of state and federal officials and the responsible party, BP, to coordinate an effective and sustained oil spill response, which included shoreline impacts. In the drill scenario, a BP chartered tanker carrying 850,000 barrels of crude oil ran aground on Middle Point on the north end of Montague Island, about 60 miles southwest of Valdez, spilling more than 307,000 barrels. (About the size of the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989.) More information about the SONS WEST 98 can be found on the ARRT web site: www.akrrt.org.
3) Mutual Aid Drill 98 (MAD) - August 5-6, 1998 - Kuparuk River, AK - The exercise was sponsored by ARCO and the scenario was a hypothetical breach of the Kuparuk pipeline, which carries crude oil from the Kuparuk field east to Prudhoe Bay and Pump Station One. The drill's focus was stopwatch deployment. One of the objectives was demonstrating rapid deployment of personnel and equipment to control sites and staging locations.
4) Statewide Hazmat Response Work Group Meeting - October 16, 1998 - Anchorage AK - The meeting was held to discuss the Statewide Standard Operating Procedures for Response and logistical protocols for Hazmat team call-out/support; provide an update on the Statewide Hazmat CIP project development; develop a spending plan for FY 99 funding; review the defensive Hazmat prototype project (for Southeast and remainder of Alaska); review Federal/State OSHA Involvement in Defensive Hazmat; provide and update a listing of clandestine drug labs within the state; discuss the Hazmat Team's response role during clandestine drug lab seizures, and review lessons learned from recent responses.
5) Incident Command System Workgroup -October 28/December 4 - Anchorage AK - The focus of the workgroup is to develop a single Incident Management System (IMS) approach for Alaska, with the overall goals of standardizing the response system for industry C-plans as well as accommodating the government oversight and augmentation roles. The group will crosscheck the Alaska ICS development with the basic NIIMS guidelines for consistency.
6) Geographic Response Plan (GRP) Workgroup - The Sensitive Areas Work Group, chaired by the Department of Interior, in cooperation with the Cook Inlet and the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Councils, ADEC, and the Prince William Sound Oil Spill Recovery Institute developed and hosted a one-day workshop, which was held in November, to discuss using GRPs in Alaska. Over 100 workshop participants identified issues concerning GRPs and how the more detailed sensitive areas and tactical planning maps might fit into the subarea contingency plans. A written report on the workshop in now being prepared.
C. ARRT MEETINGS: The ARRT was teleconferenced into two sessions during the SONS Exercise. One additional regular ARRT meeting was held during this period: October 30th, 1998 in Anchorage, AK.
D. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE: The S & T committee met on November 18th in Anchorage to review comments concerning the ISB Guidelines. Some of the major concerns of the new ISB Guidelines are: 1) the new PM 2.5 air quality standards; 2) the error range; 3) the uncertainty of the model predictions and accounting for a safety zone; 4) land/water turbulence factors and moving sources; 5) the use of one-hour averaging instead of 24-hour averaging; 6) pre-approval of in-situ burning in inland areas. The revised ISB Guidelines will be a major improvement over the existing guidelines. They will be easier to understand and the application forms more user friendly.
E. WILDLIFE PROTECTION WORKING GROUP (WPWG): Wildlife Protection Working Group (WPWG) members reviewed the "Wildlife Protection Strategy and Permits" section for the June 1, 1998, draft "Alaska Clean Seas (ACS) Technical manual, Volume 1, Tactic Descriptions". Comments were prepared and submitted to ACS. A follow-up meeting occurred on October 23 with the WPWG Chairperson and a BP Exploration Alaska (BPXA) representative to discuss the comments and review resulting revisions that will be incorporated into the manual. Contact information was revised in 5 appendices of the Wildlife Protection Guidelines for Alaska (dated January 22, 1997).
Appendix 6-Wildlife Protection Information: Migratory Birds
Appendix 7-Wildlife Protection Information: Marine Mammals
Appendix 8-Wildlife Protection Information: Terrestrial
Mammals Appendix 24-Oil Spill Response Checklist: Wildlife Hazing
Appendix 25-Oil Spill Response Checklist: Wildlife Capture, Transportation, Stabilization, and Treatment
The Wildlife Protection Guidelines for Alaska have been put on the Alaska RRT Web site.
F. CULTURAL RESOURCES WORKING GROUP (CRWG): Cultural Resources Working Group (CRWG) members reviewed the "Cultural Resources Consideration Section" for the June 1, 1998 draft "Alaska Clean Seas (ACS) Technical Manual, Volume 1, Tactical Descriptions" and submitted comments to ACS. A follow-up meeting occurred on October 23 with the CRWG Department of the Interior Co-Chairperson and a BP Exploration Alaska (BPXA) representative to discuss the comments and review resulting revisions that will be incorporated into the manual. A subset of CRWG members provided input to the Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) for Prince William Sound on individuals who could potentially serve as the OSCís Historic Properties Specialist for the September 22-23 Spill of National Significance (SONS) exercise. The FOSC for Prince William Sound (PWS) facilitated setting up a meeting on September 1 with CRWG members, FOSCís and individuals who could potentially serve as the OSCís Historic Properties Specialist for the SONS exercise. Unfortunately, no funds were available to send anyone to Valdez to serve as the Historic Properties Specialist for the FOSC for PWS for the exercise. BPXA and the Alaska Office of History and Archaeology did send individuals to the exercise who addressed historic properties protection on behalf of the responsible party and the Alaska State Historic Preservation Officer, respectively.
CRWG subgroup members continued to provide technical assistance
to FOSCs in identifying individuals who can serve as FOSCís historic properties
specialist for oil spill/hazardous substance released anywhere in Alaska.
The CRWG met on October 28 and discussed, among other topics: (1) the SONS
exercise; (2) historic properties protection activities associated with
the M/V Kuroshima summer 1998 cleanup; and (3) a preliminary draft
document that focuses on implementing the "Programmatic Agreement on
Protection of Historic Properties During Emergency Response under the National
Contingency Plan (Programmatic Agreement) in Alaska. The preliminary
draft implementation document is now undergoing review. CRWG members reviewed
a paper written by Department of the Interior representatives in Washington,
D.C. and Anchorage for inclusion in the 1999 International Oil Spill Conference.
The paper, which is titled "Development and Implementation of Guidelines
for FOSCs for Protecting Historic Properties", focuses on the nationwide
and its early implementation.
G. The Pribilof Islands Wildlife Protection Subgroup finalized
the Wildlife Protection Guidelines: Pribilof Islands (Pribilof Guidelines)
and Wildlife Protection Recommendations: Pribilof Islands (Pribilof Recommendations)
in August. The Pribilof Guidelines were submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard
and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation for inclusion in the
Aleutian Islands Subarea Contingency Plan. The Pribilof
Guidelines have been placed on the Alaska RRT Web site. The Pribilof
Recommendations were submitted to the Pribilof Islands Working Group for
their consideration. The Pribilof Islands Wildlife Protection Subgroup met
in November to continue discussing wildlife-prepared activities.
II. GENERAL PREPAREDNESS AND CONTINGENCY PLANNING.
1) The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Oil and Hazardous Substance Pollution Prevention and Response Between the Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard District and the State of Alaska dated March 1994 was updated and will be signed early in 1999. The MOA outlines procedures for coordination and cooperation between the State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the Coast Guard 17th District in regards to implementing and exercising their statutory and regulatory duties related to oil spill planning, prevention, and response.
2) The 17th Coast Guard District, the State of Alaska, and industry met to form an ISC structure that will be acceptable to all the parties for use in spill response in Alaska.
1) Incident Command System (ICS) Training: CG Pacific Strike Team personnel provided Level 300 ICS training for CG 17th District and CG MSO Juneau personnel in Juneau on July 1-2. On July 27-29, Level 400 ICS training was conducted for MSO Anchorage personnel. MSO Valdez personnel were provided Level 300 ICS training on August 10-11. The D17 District Response Advisory Team (DRAT) conducted an introduction to ICS for personnel on the District Response Group.
2) Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Team (SCAT) Training: On August 26-27, USCG and NOAA sponsored a two-day SCAT Team in Ketchikan. The training included one day of classroom work and one of field training. The training was open to response personnel in Federal/State/local agencies as well as personnel from private industry.
3) Boom Deployment Training: On 23 October, 98, the D17 DRAT conducted equipment deployment training with CG Station Juneau and industry. The scenario was a 500-gallon diesel spill in Gastineau Channel, downtown Juneau.
C. FEDERAL/STATE UNIFIED PLAN AND SUBAREA PLANS:
1) Unified Plan: The final draft Change Two to the Unified Plan was completed in December of 1998 and will be distributed for public review beginning on January 1, 1999, comments to be accepted until March 1, 1999. Comments may be submitted in writing or at one of the public meetings to be held in Anchorage on January 28, in Fairbanks on February 3rd and in Juneau on February 11. The draft Change Two is available on the Alaska Regional Response Teamís website at: http://www.akrrt.org/plans.htm.
2) Subarea Contingency Plans:
SCP: Neither the Subarea Committee nor any of its work groups
have met since before the plan was published last year.
William Sound SCP: The Copper River Delta and Flats Project
Work Group completed review of the final draft of the Copper River
Delta & Flats Addendum to the Prince William Sound Subarea Contingency
Plan. On December 1, 1998 this draft was submitted to the PWS Subarea
Committee. The Subarea Committee will decide whether the plan will stand-alone
or be incorporated in whole or in part into the PWS SCP. If any portion
of this draft plan is accepted for inclusion in the PWS SCP, it will
go out for public review as part of Change One to the PWS SCP.
Inlet SCP: The Subarea Committeeís Operations and Logistics
Groups are currently compiling the background information and logistical
reasoning that factored in the identification of emergency mooring locations
in Cook Inlet. Plans are to hold several public meetings, e.g. in Homer
and Seldovia, to explain to all interested parties the thought process
and parameters used to identify the preferred emergency mooring locations.
d. Kodiak SCP: The Kodiak Subarea Contingency Plan was published and distributed in August, 1998.
e. North Slope SCP: The North Slope Subarea Committee met in November to discuss the overall status of the plan's development. The Operations and Logistics Work Groups will be meeting in January of 1999. The final draft of the North Slope SCP is expected to be completed by early summer and will be released for public review at that time.
f. Interior SCP: The EPA has added a planner to their staff who will be assisting with the development of the Interior Subarea SCP. An initial draft of the plan has been completed.
g. Aleutian SCP: The USCG and ADEC have updated the resource listings and contact information in the second draft of the SCP. In addition, the Pribilof Islands Wildlife Protection Guidelines have been added to the plan. The public review draft of the plan will be published in January, 1999.
3) The Federal/State Joint Planning Process:
a. Joint Ketchikan Training: During the week of 24 August, 1998, a field training session and a Joint Canada/US table top exercise were held in Ketchikan, AK. Training consisted of 1st Responder Training, HAZWOPER training, ICS 100 training, Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Team (SCAT) training, and field training for the deployment of the Coast Guard and SEAPROís Vessel of Opportunity Skimming Systems (VOSS). Coast Guard Seventeenth District DRAT, CG Pacific Strike Team, two USCG WLBs (CGC WOODRUSH and CGC PLANETREE), CG Station Ketchikan, CG ISC Ketchikan, CG Air Station Kodiak, CG MSO Juneau/MSD Ketchikan, CG MSO Anchorage, CG MSO Valdez, CG MLCPAC IH Detachment Juneau, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, SEAPRO, Canadian Coast Guard, harbormasters, and cleanup contractors participated in the training.
III. PERSONNEL CHANGES.
A. On July 10, 1998, Captain William Hutmacher replaced Captain Ed Thompson as the Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the Western Alaska Region.
B. Bob Mattson replaced Ron Flinn as the State On-Scene Coordinator for Southeast Alaska.
IV. ISSUES REQUIRING RRT ACTION: ISB Guidelines (Rev 1) applicability to flat terrain. Next revision of Dispersant guidelines, and review of the Aleutian SCP
V. FUTURE PLANS:
A. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE: Compete Revision 1 of the In Situ Burning Guidelines and revision of the Dispersant Guidelines.
B. WILDLIFE PROTECTION WORKING GROUP: The Wildlife Protection Working Group will meet during the first half of 1999 to review the current version of the Wildlife Protection Guidelines for Alaska.
C. CULTURAL RESOURCES WORKING GROUP: The Cultural Resources Working Group will meet in February 1999 to continue work on a preliminary draft document that focuses on implementing the Programmatic Agreement on Protection of Historic Properties During Emergency Response under the National Contingency Plan (Programmatic Agreement) in Alaska.