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Department’s Environmental Emergency Response staff were dispatched to the scene of a 13-car train derailment near Mosby, Missouri on Saturday, Oct. 27.
Union Pacific Railroad contacted the 24-Hour Spill Line at 5:26 a.m. to report a derailment of a Canadian Pacific train. Three hopper cars landed in Fishing River, each carrying approximately 80,000 pounds of glyphosate intermediate cake, a product used in the manufacture of herbicides. One tanker was leaking liquid fertilizer but this did not impact the creek as an earthen dam was constructed around the area.
Environmental consultants from Canadian Pacific Railroad collected water samples. Readings for pH level of the river indicate that there was no impact from the herbicide product and no fish kill was observed. The Fishing River remains dammed above and below the impacted area. After the rail cars are removed and it is safe to enter the area, a response contractor will pump the contents of the damned area.
The bridge was compromised in the derailment making removal of the derailed train cars difficult. A large crane was onsite to repair the bridge. Due to the position of the derailed cars, equipment being used and damage to the bridge combined with concern for personnel safety issues slowed efforts at the scene. The Environmental Emergency Responder conducted further investigation Monday.
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, including fuel spills, please contact the 24-Hour Spill Line at (573) 634-2436. For more information about the program visit Environmental Emergency Response.
Summertime definitely means fun in the sun, however, the heat and sunlight can mix with volatile organic compounds to produce ground-level ozone. Pollution from vehicles, businesses and power plants combines in the presence of sunlight creating ground-level ozone – known commonly as smog. Typically, ozone pollution is a problem in the hot summer months from late May to early September when sunlight and higher temperatures speed up the formation of ground-level ozone. Ozone levels from the combustion of fossil fuels tend to rise mid-morning, several hours after the rush-hour and peak in the late afternoon.
Simple everyday steps can help reduce the emission of harmful pollutants that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone or smog.
Ozone-reducing activities include:
- Keep tires properly inflated.
- Use mass transit, carpool, bike or walk.
- Do not top off gas tanks. Stop at the first click.
- Do not use gas-powered lawn equipment on hot, sunny days with little or no wind. Consider waiting until early evening to mow your lawn.
- Conserve energy by turning off lights and appliances when leaving a room to reduce emissions from power plants. Purchase Energy Star® appliances.
- Set goals to reduce utility bills by two percent. This can save money and protect air quality.
The department maintains and collects data from air monitors across Missouri to see if Missouri’s air quality meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Visit the Air Pollution Control Program for more information.
Summertime is a great time for splashing around in the swimming pool, especially on these warm summer days. Unfortunately in the last month there have been several explosions in Missouri homes caused by the improper mixing of pool chemicals resulting in trips to hospital emergency rooms and serious damage to homes.
In one incident the reacting pool chemicals caused a 20-foot radius chemical splash and produced noxious vapors. A woman was air lifted to a hospital in St. Louis with respiratory issues and chemical burns to the face and upper torso. A man was transported by ambulance with respiratory issues. A small dog died at the scene.
In another incident the pool chemicals exploded. Two people were taken to the hospital and two dogs were also hospitalized. The kitchen ceiling, floor and surfaces were coated with pool chemicals which required extensive decontamination to remove the chemicals from all surfaces.
In both of these incidents, the department’s emergency responders mobilized to the scene, donning protective equipment including supplied breathing air in tanks to decontaminate the residence.
Do not let that splash of pool chemicals be the last thing you hear before an explosion. To avoid some of the hazards inherent with chemicals there are some important guidelines to follow when adding chemicals to your pool water.
1) READ THE LABELS, INSTRUCTIONS AND WARNINGS on the bottles or buckets of chemicals you are using.
2) Pool chemicals are meant to be added to large quantities of water. Do not add water to mix with the dry pool chemicals as this could cause a heat-generating reaction. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Pool chemicals may become a hazard when they become wetted by a small quantity of water or when they are improperly mixed, such as with other chemicals or reactive materials.” For more information read the Safe Storage and Handling of Swimming Pool Chemicals.
3) Do not mix chemicals.
4) Add pool chemicals separately, outside and never indoors.
Remember, even common pool chemicals are not compatible with each other. Mixing chemicals can release highly toxic and corrosive chlorine gas. Do not mix new chemicals with old chemicals. Keep chemicals away from flammable or combustible materials.
According to American Chemistry Council Pool Chemistry 101:
Basic Rules of Thumb
- Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Store chemicals in a cool, dry and shaded place.
- Never mix different types of chlorine—add each to the pool separately.
- Never mix chemicals together—add each to the pool separately.
- Avoid breathing fumes or vapors.
- Don’t buy more pool chemicals than you’ll use in a season – they lose effectiveness over time.
- Make sure pool chemicals are inaccessible to children.
Following these simple instructions will help keep your summer safer and allow you to enjoy fun in the sun.
The Environmental Emergency Response Section is called to the scene of more than 300 emergencies each year. The department’s 24-hour spill line receives more than 1,600 incident reports annually.
To report an environmental emergency, including fuel spills, please contact the spill line at (573) 634-2436.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources funded $300,000 in grants to four Missouri sheltered workshops currently providing recycling services within their regions and local communities. The grants were awarded in partnership with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, who made and administered the grant awards to:
- NOCOMO Industries Inc., Maryville – $100,000.
- Boonslick Industries Inc., Boonville – $99,954.
- Cooperative Workshops Inc., Sedalia – $50,500.
- Oregon County Sheltered Workshop, Alton – $49,516.
The departments believe these grants will strengthen recycling efforts in rural communities and assist in creating and retaining jobs for Missourians as well as divert additional marketable materials from landfills.
The Department of Natural Resources was able to provide these funds through a portion of the department’s share of the solid waste tonnage fees that are collected on each ton of solid waste entering a landfill or being transferred out of state through a transfer station.
For more information regarding grants and financial assistance, visit the Solid Waste Management Program Financial Assistance and Information section.
Used oil from just one oil change can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water. It is estimated that do-it-yourselfers improperly dispose of 200 million gallons of used oil each year. If all the oil from the do-it-yourselfers were recycled, that would be enough oil for more than 50 million cars a year.
If you change your own oil, these tips may come in handy. Recycling used motor oil is easy:
- Use drip pans to catch any fluids.
- Do not dump or spill oil on the ground.
- Put the used oil in a clean plastic container with a tight lid.
- Do not mix the oil with anything else.
- Do not pour oil down storm drains or place in the trash.
- Take the used oil to a service station or an oil collection center for recycling.
- Some big-box, auto-part and tractor supply stores will collect used oil from do-it-yourselfers.
Remember while you may have a local Household Hazardous Waste Collection event available to you, if we reduce the amount of waste materials by only buying what we need or finding a way to recycle them, we’re conserving resources and saving energy.
For more information about disposing of used oil, contact the Solid Waste Management Program at 573-751-5401.
Create a showcase for your plants by using a roller skate as a base for the plant container. Plant summer grasses in galoshes or an old boot. An old child’s wagon or wheelbarrow makes a great mobile plant container, and a vintage bird cage can be planted and hung from a front porch for a wonderful old-fashioned look.
Buckets, soda bottles and plastic containers make excellent potting sources for small plants. Make sure the containers have proper drainage and adequate amounts of sunlight and water. Old wooden boxes, metal buckets, washtubs and hollowed-out gourds all make unique planters, and are a great way to reuse and recycle items. Cut into short pieces, metal and vinyl mini-blinds make great plant markers. Clean nylon hose is useful for tying plants to trellises or fences. Cut the bottom off a milk jug and use to protect small plants from frost.
Tires were banned from Missouri landfills in 1990. However, there are still thousands of tires that end up in illegal dumps – these dumps provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other vermin. One creative use for old tires is as planters in your garden. After very carefully cutting off one side wall on a large tire, gardeners can place the tire in their garden and fill it with soil, manure or compost. The tires retain a bit more heat to aid in growing, and when used as a raised bed they warm faster. Raised gardens can increase spring soil temperatures by 8 to 13° F over nearby soil temperatures at ground level.
For those in the mood for some spring cleaning, the City of Fulton’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center is open at the new fire station, 151 W. Tennyson Road.
Residents should call 573-592-3150 to make an appointment to drop off hazardous materials between 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the second and fourth Saturday of each month. The city accepts household chemicals, pesticides, insecticides, used motor oil, antifreeze, acetone-based products, batteries, paint and paint thinners. Expired or unwanted medications will also be accepted. It is important to set up an appointment so that the prescriptions or materials are disposed of appropriately. When dropping off items do not block the garage at the front of the fire station.
The Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center was funded through a $38,207 grant from the Mid-Missouri Solid Waste Management District in 2011.
If you would like more information, visit the Solid Waste Management Program, Schedule of Local Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events or Household Hazardous Waste.
When it comes to recycling plastic pots, the Missouri Botanical Garden helps lead the way. In 2011, the Garden’s Plastic Pot Recycling program collected a record 140,000 pounds of horticultural waste and since the program’s inception has saved more than 1 million pounds of plastic garden pots, cell packs and trays from landfills. A significant portion of this program is funded by the Department of Natural Resources and Regionl L, St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District.
The main collection site will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., April through October at the Monsanto Center, Missouri Botanical Garden, 4500 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, MO. Recycling plastic garden pots, polystyrene cell packs and trays at the Garden and other locations throughout St. Louis City and County will help reduce the amount of waste going to landfills.
- Household plastic, food plastic, clay pots and plastic bags are not accepted.
- Hanging baskets, cell packs, trays and pots of all sizes are accepted, as long as they are made of plastic.
- Sort the plastic gardening containers into cell packs, pots, and trays. Remove metal hangers, rings or other materials. Please shake rocks and soil from the containers.
- Bring the pots and trays to the Garden’s Monsanto Center or contact local nursery and garden centers in St. Louis County to see if they accept pots for recycling.
- The Botanical Garden grinds up the pots and markets the chips to manufacturers who produce plastic lumber, retaining wall ties, or other recycled products.
- Plastic timbers are water and pest resistant. The timber can be cut and drilled similar to wooden lumber. Plastic timber outlasts traditional wooden railroad ties that have a life span of only ten to 15 years. For ordering information, visit Landscape Timbers.