Tag Archives: Environmental Emergency Responder
In Missouri spring means barbecues, dogwoods and fishing expeditions. Unfortunately, it can also mean hail, lightning, strong winds and even floods. If your home, business or community is affected by severe weather, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources can help. The department’s Natural Disaster Resources webpage offers publication and fact sheet links provides information on how to dispose of disaster debris, facts on open burning, reducing the impact of flooding, restoring drinking water and disaster response guidance for public water and wastewater facilities. Additional resources are also available.
If you need to report an environmental concern, the department offers an easy on-line form.
Call the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Spill Reporting Hotline at 573-634-2436 for environmental emergencies, such as:
- Oil and chemical spills.
- Radiological and biological discharges.
- Accidents causing releases of pollutants.
- Fish kills.
- Hazardous material incidents.
- Leaking abandoned containers.
Emergency responders staff the Spill Reporting Hotline 24/7 to provide technical assistance regarding spilled chemicals and necessary cleanup actions; work with the person or company responsible for the spill to ensure that proper cleanup is completed and impact to public health and the environment is minimized; conduct notifications to various agencies; and determine if an on-site response is needed by program staff.
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 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.
On March 5, the department’s 24-hour Environmental Emergency Response Hotline received a call from the Missouri Department of Transportation regarding an abandoned five-gallon bucket on East bound I-70 in the St. Louis area.
The label on the bucket indicated that the contents were a corrosive industrial cleaner. The bucket appeared to be about 1/3 full. Emergency staff responded and over packed the container, placing it into the abandoned container storage facility at the office. Staff will characterize the liquid and neutralize if necessary.
If you see a leaking or abandoned container, or witness an environmental emergency, please call the Missouri Department of Natural Resources at 573-634-2436. Do not touch the material or abandoned containers. An environmental emergency poses an immediate threat to the public health or the well-being of the environment.
Emergency response is the department’s front line of defense against significant and imminent hazardous substance releases that impact public safety and the environment. Duty officers monitor the statutorily mandated Spill Reporting Hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Staff provide technical assistance regarding the chemical and necessary cleanup actions, work with the responsible party to ensure that proper cleanup is completed and impact to the public health and environment is minimized, conduct notifications to various agencies, and determine if an on-site response is needed by emergency staff.
On average, the Environmental Emergency Response section receives more than 1,500 incident calls and responds to nearly 450 hazardous substance emergencies each year.
An environmental concern is a situation that you believe threatens the environment, such as a trash dump or discarded waste tires in a stream.
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.
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.
A department Environmental Emergency Responder investigated the discovery of an apparent petroleum sheen on a Mountain Grove creek that drains into Whetstone Creek in Wright County on January 26.
Mountain Grove Fire Department contacted the department late Thursday afternoon regarding the discovery when personnel noticed the sheen combined with a strong petroleum odor.
Upstream of the incident, the responder observed approximately one half inch of free phase red dye diesel in the above ground storage (AST) containment at a local petroleum facility. A storm water culvert runs directly underneath the AST containment and surfaces above ground approximately 300 feet from that location.
The responder requested the potential responsible party pump out the remaining 300-350 gallons of diesel fuel and water from the AST containment. The company is maintaining absorbent pad and booms on the creek.
The department will work closely with the potential responsible party on an excavation strategy to help determine if the petroleum impact to the waterway is a result of a previously opened valve or if the AST containment is compromised providing a direct downward path to the water exists.
The Environmental Emergency Responder will conduct further investigation. 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 spill line at (573) 634-2436. For more information about the program visit Environmental Emergency Response.
On Oct. 20, the Environmental Emergency Response (EER) Section acquired a new piece of equipment in their arsenal to use when responding to address any chemical, petroleum or other material spilled on the Mississippi River that may impact the public health, safety and environment.
The program’s new 23-foot Munson Pack Cat LC is a transport catamaran landing craft with a bow door and twin 150 Yamaha motors. Two motors are required on this boat due to the tunnel hull catamaran design that offers more stability and shallow draft than the mono hull. The boat was acquired through a port security grant for the department to use and to also assist response agencies in the St. Louis Port area.
The department’s emergency responders are the department’s front line of defense to significant and imminent hazardous substance releases that impact public safety and the environment. Thirteen duty officers monitor the statutorily mandated Spill Reporting Hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, on a rotating basis. Ten staff (in addition to the 13 duty officers) are stationed at six different locations throughout Missouri. State on-scene coordinators conduct operations out of these offices and are dispatched via the 24-hour spill reporting hotline by a duty officer in Jefferson City.
On average, the EER Section receives more than 1,500 incident calls and responds to nearly 450 hazardous substance emergencies each year. The EER Section staff includes hazardous material technicians in Jefferson City, St. Louis, Poplar Bluff, Kansas City, Macon and Springfield who respond when an environmental emergency occurs.
You may report an environmental concern online or call the 24-hour Environmental Emergency Response Hotline at 573-634-2436 to report an environmental emergency.
On Oct. 14, the Environmental Emergency Response Section (EER), the Buchanan County Emergency Management Director, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) conducted a flyover of the Missouri River. The primary mission of the flyover was to identify any abandoned or orphaned hazardous materials containers. This information gathering event will enable EER to develop a reconnaissance plan to retrieve any containers in and around the floodway. The MSHP provided a fixed wing aircraft for the flight. On Oct. 19-20, EER On-Scene Coordinators from the Kansas City Regional area conducted ground reconnaissance of the containers identified during the Oct. 14 flight. Less than fifteen containers have been identified as being left behind by the flood waters. The containers are of sizes varying from small propane cylinders up to a 10,000-gallon underground tank. The containers are mostly empty. EER will be working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on recovery and disposal of these orphaned containers
The department urges citizens in flood-prone areas to secure propane tanks properly and mark the tanks to help identify them and avoid safety problems prior to flooding.
Information regarding reducing the impact of flooding regarding propane tanks and agricultural chemicals is available in the department’s fact sheets:
To report an environmental emergency, including fuel spills, please contact the department’s spill line at 573-634-2436.
For more information, please visit the Environmental Services Program web site.
Visit the department’s Natural Disaster Resources for more information regarding disasters and disaster resources.