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BP Oil Spill: EPA’s Response in Support of the US Coast Guard Mark Mjoness Director, National Planning and Preparedness Division US EPA Office of Emergency.

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Presentation on theme: "BP Oil Spill: EPA’s Response in Support of the US Coast Guard Mark Mjoness Director, National Planning and Preparedness Division US EPA Office of Emergency."— Presentation transcript:

1 BP Oil Spill: EPA’s Response in Support of the US Coast Guard Mark Mjoness Director, National Planning and Preparedness Division US EPA Office of Emergency Management (OEM)

2 2 Overview of Key NRS Components … Federal On-Scene Coordinators (OSCs) 13 Regional Response Teams (RRTs) National Response Team (NRT) National Response Center (NRC) Area Committees State/Local Governments Special Teams Joint Response Teams with neighboring countries Regulated Industry

3 3 NRS Preparedness National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP) Regional Contingency Plans (RCPs) Area Contingency Plans (ACPs) Federal Agency Internal Plans National Response Framework (NRF) International Joint Plans State/Local Plans Facility Response Plans (FRPs) Vessel Response Plans (VRPs)

4 Response On April 22, the Deepwater Horizon rig capsized and sank – 11 workers died. Following that human tragedy has been an environmental and economic disaster. – More than 800 miles of shoreline were been impacted in five states, 150 miles remain impacted. – More than 80,000 square miles of federal fishing waters have been shut down; and – 36 National Wildlife Refuges have been threatened. President Obama has called this spill “the worst environmental disaster America has ever seen.” This unprecedented disaster has been met by our unprecedented response.

5 Response More than 45,000 responders. At the height of the response, EPA had more than 40 workers dedicated to the response in our DC- based Emergency Operation Center each with reach back to their home offices and about 190 working in our regional offices along the Gulf. Admiral Thad Allen (USCG Ret.) led the federal response as National Incident Commander. On April 29, Secretary Napolitano declared the incident a Spill of National Significance, allowing the U.S. Coast Guard to receive full government support. Coordinating federal agencies, include: EPA, DOI, DOE, DHS, NOAA, SBA. Working closely with state and local governments.

6 Response Organization - Simplified

7 Organizational Response Structure – NIC

8 Organizational Response Structure EPA Representation Venues for EPA: – HQ EOC in Washington, DC – EPA supporting USCG IASG in Washington, DC – Region 6 REOC in Dallas, TX – Region 4 REOC in Atlanta, GA – Area Command; Robert, LA – Incident Commands in Houma, LA., Mobile, AL. and Miami, FL.

9 EPA Resources: Personnel Incident staffing - Peak staffing levels exceeded 200 EPA and contractor personnel supporting UAC, IC and field activities EOC/REOC staffing – EOC staffing exceeded 45 EPA staff at peak levels – R6 REOC fully activated – R4 REOC fully activated Incident required use of back-up regions and national staffing efforts Activated and utilized Response Support Corps

10 Response Recovered about 30 million gallons of oil at the source. More than 6,000 vessels assisted in containment and cleanup efforts -- in addition to dozens of aircraft, and remotely- operated vehicles. – Oil capture efforts from ships like these recovered more than 28 million gallons of oil-water mix. Other vessels in the area worked on controlled burning, which removed almost 10 million gallons of oil from the water. Water skimming and deployed boom. – More than 8 million feet of boom was deployed.

11 Response: Stopping the Oil Flow Under the direction of Thad Allen (USCG Ret.), BP made several attempts to stem the flow of oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill. In June, oil flow was reduced with a series of containment caps that allowed oil to be collected and natural gas to be flared. In July, another capping stack was installed. Oil flow was halted when well integrity testing began on July 15. In August, cement was successfully forced into the well through the capping stack in a static kill procedure, further sealing the well. On September 19, Thad Allen (USCG Ret.) announced that the relief well had been completed and the well had been cemented, declaring that “…the Macondo 252 well is effectively dead.”

12 Response: Monitoring Efforts To assess any health threats or major environmental challenges, EPA’s primary role is monitoring: – Air – Water – Sediment

13 Response: Monitoring Efforts - Air Objective: Monitoring for by-products from controlled burns and from evaporating oil or dispersant. Results: Nothing seen onshore exceeding normal air conditions for the time of year.

14 Response: Monitoring Efforts - Air AreaRae (wireless gas detectors) are used for investigating odor complaints and to establish baseline data. Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA) vehicles are used to obtain Volatile Organic Carbon (VOC) readings and were used to monitor for EGBE (2-butoxyethanol) and dipropylene glycol monobutyl ether—the two chemicals found in the COREXIT dispersants that had the highest potential to diffuse into the air in significant amounts. The Airborne Spectral Environmental Collection Technology (ASPECT) plane is used for aerial imagery and monitoring of shoreline and controlled burns. Summa canisters are used to obtain air toxic information. Devices Used

15 Response: Monitoring Efforts Water and Sediment - Design Objective: Establish pre-spill water and sediment quality conditions. Evaluate post-spill results against risk based thresholds. Locations: Sampled along the coastline using both targeted and randomized design. – Targeted design based on professional judgement of sensitive areas and oil trajectory. – Randomized design to support estimates of condition and change, assess the area of impact and the extent of resource with increased contaminant concentrations. Sampling: Collected over 1300 water and 455 sediment samples and analyzed for oil related contaminants, including alkyl and parent PAHs, nickel, vanadium, dispersant compounds.

16 Response: Monitoring Efforts Water and Sediment - Analysis Metals thresholds for water were based on EPA Clean Water Act 304(a) criteria. Sediment were based on NOAA Sediment Quality Guidelines. PAH thresholds for water and sediment were based on EPA Equilibrium partitioning which applies a sum-PAH approach. Human Health thresholds were based on children 90 hour dermal exposure and accidental ingestion. No human health thresholds were exceeded. Dispersants associated chemicals were detected 2 times in water and 6 times in sediment. They did not exceed thresholds.

17 Response: Monitoring Efforts Water and Sediment - Results PAHs were detected in 11% of water samples and 36% of sediment samples. – When detected, they exceeded chronic aquatic life thresholds 12% and 8% of the samples respectively. Metals were detected in over 90% of the water and sediment samples. – When detected, they exceeded chronic aquatic life thresholds 4% and 24% of the samples respectively. Future Analysis: Water and sediment samples will be analyzed to compare pre-spill to post-spill levels. Data will also be compared to 2000-2006 National Coastal Assessment.

18 Response: Waste Management On June 29th, the U.S. Coast Guard - with the agreement of the EPA and coastal states - issued a Waste Management Directive outlining how BP should manage oil and other recovered contaminated materials. Under the provisions of the Directive, BP has developed the following plans, which have been reviewed by EPA and Coastal States: – Waste Tracking/Reporting – Community Outreach – Waste Sampling – Liquids Waste Materials and Management This Directive complements oversight and inspection activities in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, while imposing additional requirements.

19 Response: Waste Management and Beach Cleanup EPA has reviewed BP Waste Sampling and Analysis Plans and continues to review BP data to make sure proper waste characterization occurs. EPA and the states are also conducting periodic site visits of Waste Management facilities receiving waste from BP Cleanup activities. To make sure the waste is disposed of properly and according to that plan, EPA is conducting our own sampling and analysis to confirm BP’s results. EPA also continues to follow-up on any complaints from local residents. EPA has provided personnel for beach cleanup oversight of BP contractors conducting work in the Mobile Sector area of responsibility. Oversight

20 Response: Dispersant Use Dispersants break the oil down into smaller droplets to speed its natural degradation offshore. Unlike untreated oil that can remain for several years, dispersed oil – usually less toxic than oil – degrades over a period of weeks. Unprecedented quantities of dispersant were being applied on the surface and subsea— with unknown consequences. We initiated comprehensive monitoring and reduced the amount applied over the course of the response. – On May 23, EPA and the Coast Guard directed BP to significantly reduce dispersants, setting a target of a 75% reduction from peak usage. – The next day dispersant use dropped more than 50% – Dispersants were last applied on July 19. EPA limited BP’s undersea dispersant application to 15,000 gallons per day, provided that BP rigorously monitored the environmental conditions below the surface. We also required BP to make their data public. We believe the dispersant worked to break up the oil; comprehensive monitoring continues to confirm.

21 Response: Dispersant Use Of 1013 surface water samples, one sample was found to have a dispersant-related chemical (bis(2-ethylhexyl) sodium sulfosuccinate) above the reporting limit but below the aquatic benchmark. Additional sampling and analysis conducted in this area on August 18th did not reveal dispersant chemicals above the reporting limit. EPA conducted independent, peer-reviewed toxicity tests on eight dispersants from the NCP Product Schedule: – The results of standard toxicity tests on sensitive aquatic organisms found in the Gulf indicate the eight dispersants are similar to one another. – The results confirm that Corexit 9500A, the dispersant used in response to the oil spill in the Gulf, is generally no more or less toxic than the other available alternatives.

22 Response: Research The EPA Office of Research and Development has requested $2 million for dispersant research in the form of grants to universities with oil spill, dispersant use and ecological risk expertise. – These grants focus on dispersant toxicity, application, surface washing and bio- remediation agents and other mitigation measures. The EPA website initially solicited solutions for use in response to the oil spill. We received and reviewed more than 1,800 suggestions, some of which were provided to BP. – EPA is now participating in the Interagency Alternative Technology Assessment Program (IATAP), which is under the purview of the USCG. We’ve also hosted an Alternative Coastal Protection and Cleanup Technology Forum in New Orleans.

23 Response: Berm Projects EPA has been actively engaged in reviewing more than 70 proposed emergency oil spill response measures to ensure that the comply with provisions of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. We assisted in the review of several proposed berm projects. Proposed berm projects ranged in material from dredged sand to rock, and were considered to be built in both Louisiana and Alabama. The large scale and inherent environmental implications of many of these projects has raised key issues, which EPA continues to follow. Possible issues include: potential for impact on fish and wildlife resources; sediment transport and wave dynamics; and contaminant concerns.

24 Response: Community Outreach EPA is committed to working with people impacted by this oil spill. We want to hear from them: What more can we do to help? Administrator Jackson, and other members of EPA’s leadership have attended or sponsored about 30 outreach meetings with local residents, community, university and business leaders, local NGO’s and environmentalists. At these meetings, local leaders have raised questions about some of the topics I’ve discussed today…like our monitoring efforts…as well as questions on how they can help.

25 Response: Worker Safety An EPA Health and Safety Officer in the Gulf worked with staff from OSHA and NIOSH to ensure worker safety and health. Our Health and Safety Officer worked with the BP Safety Representative to conduct site visits to verify that safety and health requirements have been implemented. EPA employees were trained in health and safety before going to the Gulf.

26 Ongoing Commitment New report released on September 28 “A Long-Term Recovery Plan after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill” EPA Administrator Jackson to lead Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force

27 Ongoing Commitment “We are going to stay engaged in this effort, doing everything we can to get the families and businesses of the Gulf Coast back on the path to recovery...Our commitment will be measured in years – not months.” – Administrator Lisa P. Jackson For more information and updates… EPA: JIC: NOAA: ERMA: General Federal Government:

28 28 Subsurface Activity 28UNCLASSIFIED

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