Monthly Archives: February 2012
Environmental Emergency Responders are currently gathering information and prioritizing where assistance is needed most following severe weather that swept through multiple counties in Missouri on Feb. 28-29.
Responders mobilized to address issues in Lamar and Barton County. Areas of concern were also identified in Phelps, Dallas, Stone, Taney and Laclede counties. Responders are working with the Missouri Department of Agriculture to identify any petroleum facility damage in storm-affected areas.
The Environmental Protection Agency contacted the Environmental Emergency Response Spill Line to report sunken boats on Table Rock Lake. Emergency staff are working with the Port of Kimberling Marina.
The Southwest Regional Office staff are making contacts with local entities and municipalities to identify any potential infrastructure needs.
Damage has been reported in Barry, Barton, Cedar, Dallas, Stone, Cape Girardeau, Bolinger, Stoddard, Scott, Laclede, Phelps and Taney counties as well as the cities of Kirksville and Cameron. Shelters are open in Laclede, Dallas and Stone counties.
Department staff and emergency responders are committed to assisting local authorities as they address issues in their communities.
To report an environmental emergency, including fuel spills, please contact the department’s spill line at 573-634-2436.
Disaster related publications and fact sheets are available at Disaster Resources (scroll down the page to the heading: Disaster Resources).
For more information, visit the Environmental Services Program.
The Department of Natural Resources Wednesday dispatched an environmental emergency responder to screen a Lamar home for mercury vapors and assess any additional clean up needs following a release Tuesday from a broken thermometer.
The Barton County Health Department contacted the department’s 24-hour Environmental Emergency Spill Line, 573-634-2436, Tuesday to request pick-up of two mercury items dropped off by citizens, including a broken mercury thermometer from a home with a child.
The thermometer fell onto a tile floor and the home owner used shaving cream and a basting brush to clean up the mercury. The homeowner placed all materials and waste from the incident into a resealable bag and took the bag to the health department. Later the home owner contacted the Spill Line to inquire about assistance.
The greatest risk of exposure from elemental mercury in products such as fever thermometers is improper handling and disposal of spilled mercury. Mercury is toxic when inhaled. To help reduce that exposure risk, the department has launched an effort to rid homes of mercury, with nearly 50 mercury drop-off locations throughout the state.
Any private citizen or nonprofit agency can leave mercury-containing instruments, such as thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, thermostats or switches, at any of these sites. Citizens seeking to dispose of items at these sites should first secure the item in two zip top plastic bags and then place it in a crush-proof sealed container, such as a coffee can, plastic margarine tub, or plastic beverage bottle.
For more information, visit the list of mercury drop-off sites. The Mercury Roundup will end May 31, 2012.
Emergency responders from the department’s Environmental Emergency Response section were called out this morning to the scene of a St. Francois County fire involving an explosives manufacturer.
The department dispatched responders from the department’s Southeast Regional Office in Poplar Bluff to Farmington to monitor runoff from firefighting efforts at Austin Powder, 2438 Route H, an explosives manufacturer specializing in high explosives and blasting agents for quarry operations. Firefighters were called to the site overnight when fire broke out at the facility.
Because of the number and types of chemicals used at the plant (including acetic acid, sodium nitrite, sodium thiocyanate, ammonium nitrate and oxidizers), concern arose about the acidity of the estimated 16,000 gallons of water used in fighting the fire. Sampling conducted by the department’s emergency responders found the runoff not to be a concern.
While on the scene responders also inspected several containers of chemicals for possible leaks and found none.
The Environmental Emergency Response section is called to the scene of more than 300 emergencies each year, including fires, traffic accidents, leaking storage tanks and other incidents that could have a negative environmental impact. The department’s 24-hour spill line receives more than 1,600 incident reports annually.
To report an environmental emergency please contact the spill line at (573) 634-2436. For more information contact the Missouri Department of Natural Resources at 1-800-361-4827 or (573) 751-3443, or visit the department’s Web page at www.dnr.mo.gov.
The bill to extend the drinking water primacy fee to Sept. 1, 2017 was passed by the House of Representatives Wednesday. House Bill 1251 was passed by a majority vote and will move on to the Senate. If the bill is approved by both the House and Senate, it will be presented to Gov. Jay Nixon for his signature.
The primacy fee was established by the state legislature in 1992. The amount of the fee is based on water system size and ranges from $1.08 to $3.24 per water system customer per year. The primacy fee provides critical funding for laboratory services and activities the state must
perform in order to maintain delegation of the federal drinking water program. Without the primacy fee, the Department of Natural Resources would lack the funding to implement critical regulations necessary for protecting public health and maintaining primacy, and regulation of Missouri’s public water systems would revert to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The fee will expire this year if it is not extended by law.
Historically, maintaining primacy has saved Missouri public water systems, and the customers
of public water systems, about $6.5 million per year. Over the next three years, Missouri water
systems would have to pay more than $15 million if they were to pay for their own testing. This is because public water systems would have to do more monitoring under the federal regulation
than they do under state regulation. Vulnerability assessments performed by the Department of
Natural Resources reduce the amount of monitoring by approximately 75 percent; EPA does not perform such assessments and would require the full scope of monitoring. Also, the state laboratory can perform tests for significantly less than a water system would have to pay on the open market. The costs of the increased monitoring would inevitably affect customer water bills.
For more information, call the department’s Water Protection Program at 800-361-4827 or 573-751-5331.
More than 16 million tires have been cleaned up in Missouri since we began cleaning up illegal tire dumps in 1990.
To put 16 million tires into perspective:
- The average car tire is 25 inches wide. If laid tread to tread, 16 million tires could outline the perimeter of the state of Missouri (1,487 miles) 4.25 times, or cross the United States 2.3 times.
- The average car tire weighs 22.5 pounds, multiplied by 16 million means that 360,000,000 pounds or 180,000 tons of tires have been removed from Missouri’s environment.
- If laid in rows along Interstate 70 from St. Louis to Kansas City, the tires would cover both lanes and shoulder of one direction 1.5 times.
- One scrap tire per person per year is generated in Missouri, or approximately 6 million tires.
- In 2009, 1.75 million tires were used as tire-derived-fuel in power plants and cement kilns.
The Land Reclamation Commission held a conference call meeting Tuesday to address a public hearing request concerning a new mining permit application for GP Material South on 201 acres in Washington County. The commission denied the hearing request and granted issuing the permit. Audio from the meeting is available online at http://www.dnr.mo.gov/env/lrp/commission/lrc02-07-12.mp3. For more information about mining in Missouri, visit the department’s Land Reclamation Program webpage at http://www.dnr.mo.gov/env/lrp/index.html.
The department is launching a month-long effort to rid homes of mercury, with nearly 50 mercury drop-off locations throughout the state.
Working with fire departments and county health offices throughout the state, the department is providing mercury drop-off locations in communities statewide. Any private citizen or nonprofit agency can leave mercury-containing instruments, such as thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, thermostats or switches, at any of these sites.
This program does not include compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs, see the Household Compact Fluorescent Lamp Use and Disposal fact sheet detailing the proper disposal of CFLs.
Citizens seeking to dispose of items at these sites should first secure the item in two zip top plastic bags and then place it in a crush-proof sealed container, such as a coffee can, plastic margarine tub, or plastic beverage bottle.
Department staff will collect the dropped off items at the end of May for consolidation. Staff will then transport the mercury items to Jefferson City to recycle what can be recycled and properly dispose of the rest.
A person who is uncomfortable with transporting mercury instruments, or who has large quantities of mercury, can contact the department’s spill line at 573-634-2436 to arrange to have items picked up.
For location information, visit the list of mercury drop-off sites.
For more information on the mercury roundup, contact the nearest participating agency or the department’s Environmental Services Program at 573-634-2436.
Visit mercury for more information on mercury, including health effects and how to clean up a small mercury spill.