News and Activities
Oil Pollution Act Area Planning Pays Off
Date Posted: December 22, 1999The Twin Cities Field Office is continuing its work with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Coast Guard, National Park Service, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, local emergency response personnel, and spill response contractors on a Spill Response Plan (Plan) for the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area under the Oil Pollution Act (OPA). Previous accomplishments include an inventory and digital mapping of sensitive environmental resources (including Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge) and potential spill sources. This summer, a pilot effort was started to develop practical response options for spill containment/collection and diversion strategies (to protect high priority ecological areas) on a site-by-site basis within the Plan area. The Service intends to extend this type of field effort to other parts of the Plan area and incorporate results into the digital response plan.
Evidence of the value of Service involvement in spill response planning came during the field survey, when one of the emergency response personnel said: “I never realized there was so much wildlife back in here.” In addition, during a recent incident, within minutes of being notified of a hexane spill into the City of Bloomington’s storm sewer system, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency contacted the Service directly to coordinate their response due to their awareness of the system’s outfall to Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. This increased awareness and sensitivity is a direct consequence of Service involvement in spill response planning.