Quad Cities Sub-area Contingency Plan

IV. Roles and Authorities of Government Agencies

A. Local Governments

  1. Local Responders' Roles and Responsibilities

    During any fire or an incident involving a discharge of oil or release of hazardous substances, the local fire department with jurisdiction will respond and will provide an incident commander (IC) as the response is undertaken. The fire department will continue to provide an IC while threats to life and human safety issues dominate the situation. The local police department will normally be responsible for traffic and crowd control on public property, while municipal public works departments will provide assistance in the event it is necessary to divert or prevent the flow of contaminated materials through the storm water or sewer system. After any notifications of neighboring jurisdictions have been completed, following the guidelines in Section VI. A., the IC may decide to notify state agencies, because of a need for special expertise, because the incident threatens to extend impacts beyond the local jurisdiction, or because hazardous wastes may be generated. If a Responsible Party is identified and involved, the fire department commander, state and federal on-scene coordinators and the RP may establish a Unified Command System (UCS) to address the situation (See Section IX B. 1.)

  2. Role of HazMat Responders

    Depending on the nature and severity of an incident, additional units from the affected city or governmental unit or HazMat teams may be called. Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois have HazMat teams capable of providing a Level A response (fully encapsulated chemical-protective suit with positive pressure and self-contained breathing apparatus ([SCBA]) to a HazMat incident. The HazMat response teams available through the Davenport and Bettendorf fire departments have 36 and 16 personnel, respectively, trained to provide a Level A response. Both teams are dispatched from their respective Public Safety Answering Point upon the request of local officials on the scene. Both are capable of responding throughout the Quad Cities area, either by existing agreement or by special permission of the fire chief/public safety committee. The Davenport HazMat Team serves as a regional response team on its side of the river and as the HazMat response team for Scott County.

    On the Illinois side, the Rock Island Arsenal HazMat Team will respond on an as-available basis by virtue of its participation in mutual assistance pacts. Other departments rely on mutual aid agreements with neighboring fire departments, on industry, or on state or federal agencies for HazMat responses in the event an incident necessitates such action. More than 30 fire departments in the Quad Cities area belong to the Bi-State Fire Chiefs Association, with departments available to assist one another. Fifty departments, including many of the same ones as are in the Bi-State Fire Chiefs Association, belong to the Mississippi Valley Firefighters Association. Thirty-eight of those departments are in Illinois; 12 are in Iowa.

    Once on scene, the HazMat team will operate under the prevailing incident command system (ICS). The HazMat teams will not take control of an incident outside their jurisdictions, but will instead report to the IC or the operations officer on scene. The response teams do not perform remedial cleanup associated with HazMat incidents.

  3. Roles and Procedures of Local Emergency Management Agencies
    1. Local Emergency Planning Committees
      Local Emergency Planning districts were set up as a result of SARA Title III. The Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) include representatives from local governmental agencies, emergency responders, environmental groups, and local industry. Several local emergency plans may exist within each district. The Local Emergency Response Plan (LERP), developed under Sections 301-303 of EPCRA, must include the identity and locations of hazardous materials, procedures for responding to a chemical accident, procedures for notifying the public of necessary actions, the names of coordinators within any involved or threatened industrial plants, and schedules for testing the plan. The LERP must be reviewed by a State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). RRTs may review the plans and provide assistance if the SERC or LEPC, through the State RRT representative, requests such a review. If a natural disaster produces an emergency, the county EMAs may utilize their general (All-hazards) plan along with portions of their Local Emergency Response Plan.
    2. Emergency Management Agencies
      If an incident produces or threatens to escalate into an emergency that could affect large numbers of people or the off-site environment in their respective cities, or otherwise appears beyond the capacity of the local responders, the Scott County Emergency Management Agency (SCEMA) and/or the Rock Island County Emergency Services and Disaster Agency (RICO ESDA) become involved. Under such circumstances, SCEMA or RICO ESDA may activate its respective Emergency Operations Center (EOC), initiate an evacuation, or take other steps to protect human health and the environment. Volunteers to assist with temporary housing or other outgrowths of an emergency will be called into the EOC, as needed. SCEMA and RICO ESDA each maintain a mobile command center that can be dispatched to the scene or the vicinity of the scene. Each mobile command center has space to accommodate a small command group. A liaison at the scene will provide contact between the IC and the EOC or the mobile command center and the scene, if the mobile command center is at the scene. SCEMA and RICO ESDA will notify and communicate with each other through the EOCs, if an incident involves or threatens to involve both counties.

B. States

Under the NCP, 40 CFR 300.180, governors are: asked to assign an office or agency to represent the state on the RRT. The state's representative may participate fully in all facets of RRT activity and shall designate the appropriate element of the state government that would undertake direction of state managed oil or hazardous substance releases. Each state RRT member also represents and coordinates the RRT involvement of various other state, county, and municipal organizations.

  1. The State of Iowa

    The Iowa State Department of Natural Resources (Ia DNR) is the enforcement agency for environmental laws in Iowa and it coordinates responses to spills. If a threat to human safety exists in a pollution case, Ia DNR coordinates requested assistance from state agencies, and acts as the liaison with federal officials. Agency personnel are available 24 hours a day for technical assistance to abate the exposure of citizens to hazardous materials, and for investigation of pollution incidents and assessment of environmental damages. Requests for disposal sites and incinerators for waste oil should be coordinated through Ia DNR, which represents the state for all RRT activity.

  2. The State of Illinois

    The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) is Illinois' lead agency for developing plans and coordinating action before, during and after certain emergency situations, including waste management emergencies involving public water supplies; spills of oil or hazardous materials upon waters or lands of the state; or releases of harmful quantities of toxic substances to the atmosphere. The Emergency Response Unit (ERU) of the Office of Chemical Safety has responsibility within IEPA for assuming control of the state's technical response both in the field and in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), should activation of the SEOC become necessary.

    Incident reports are routinely evaluated by the IEPA Duty Officer to determine whether an immediate response is appropriate; and if so, whether that is a response by telephone, a visit to the scene, or a request to a support agency or a local agency for an on-scene assessment. When the response of the RP and of local responders is adequate, IEPA will oversee, advise and assist as necessary within the established ICS, as per 29 CFR 1910.120 (a).

    If the response needs exceed state resources, IEPA will request federal resources through the established channels consistent with the NCP and the Federal Response Plan (FRP).

    State responders will collect samples, photographs and other documentary evidence, as directed by IEPA or appropriate within their areas of authority, for potential use in instances where it becomes necessary to use the legal process to assure protection of human health, welfare and the environment.

C. Federal

  1. National Response System and Policies

    The NCP, 300.105, describes the general organizational concepts of the federal agencies, the NRT, the RRT, the FOSC, and the Area Committees. Sections 300.110 and 300.115 detail the structure of the NRT and the RRT. The NCP provides for an RRT whose agency membership would parallel that of the NRT, and the inclusion of state and local representation.

  2. EPA Region 5 Responsibilities

    EPA Region 5, Chicago, Illinois, will provide an FOSC for investigating and responding to releases occurring on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities Sub-area, unless the spills originate from a commercial vessel, a vessel transfer operation, or a marine-transportation related facility, in which case the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is predesignated to provide an FOSC. Should a discharge or release upstream from the Quad Cities threaten both sides of the river, EPA will provide an FOSC as stipulated by the Upper Mississippi River Spill Response Plan and Resource Manual.

  3. EPA Region 7 Responsibilities

    EPA Region 7, Kansas City, Kansas, will provide an FOSC for investigating and responding to releases occurring on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities Sub-area, unless the spills originate from a commercial vessel, a vessel transfer operation, or a marine-transportation related facility, in which case the USCG is predesignated to provide an FOSC. (See previous paragraph regarding FOSC designation for spills upstream on the Mississippi River.)

  4. USCG Marine Safety Detachment Quad Cities

    Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the EPA and the USCG signed March 13, 1993, the USCG will assist the predesignated EPA/OSC to the fullest extent possible consistent with agency responsibilities and authorities. If an incident involves a commercial vessel, a vessel transfer operation, or a marine-transportation related facility, the USCG Captain of the Port (COTP) will provide the OSC and will carry out all of the OSC's responsibilities, including the decision to direct any necessary removal activity or access the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF). If the incident originates from another or an unknown source, the USCG will assist the EPA/OSC to the fullest extent possible within the NCP or the RICP. Upon the request of the predesignated EPA/OSC, the COTP may act upon the OSC's behalf.

  5. Federal On-scene Coordinator's Role and Responsibilities

    The FOSC may direct response efforts and coordinate all other efforts at the scene of a discharge or release in accordance with the NCP, RICP, any applicable sub-area, state and local plans. FOSCs shall be predesignated by the EPA Regional Administrator from either or both Region 5 or Region 7 or the USCG, 8th District per EPA/USCG MOU. [The Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Energy ( DOE) shall designate an FOSC, as stated in the NCP 300.120 (c) and (d), should their facilities or properties be involved in a discharge or release. Other federal agencies are responsible for non-emergency removals, as stated in the NCP 300.120 (c)(2).]

    The FOSC will coordinate all federal containment, removal and disposal efforts and direct all federal resources during an incident. The FOSC is the point of contact between federal resources and the Responsible Party (RP) and the state and local response community. The FOSC will work within an established IC structure or coordinate all agencies/parties into a UCS. In some circumstances the FOSC may direct the response activities of other parties in accordance with the NCP. In extreme circumstances, when it is evident that the RP is unwilling or unable to respond adequately to a spill or release, the FOSC can assume full authority of the cleanup, including funding through Superfund or the OSLTF (i.e., to "federalize" the response). In such instances, notice will be provided to the RP in writing. In such circumstances, efforts will be made to recover costs from the RP. The Region 5 and/or 7 RRT can be convened to provide guidance to the FOSC and coordination during a major event.

    From a practical standpoint, such tasks as air-monitoring during a discharge or release--possibly one with an associated fire--can be provided by an FOSC responding with members of the Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team (START) contract during the emergency phase of an incident. Such actions would be conducted within an ICS or UCS, with transfer of command responsibilities to an OSC of the affected state or to the FOSC during the incident's cleanup and recovery phase.

    FOSCs, to the extent practicable, should ensure that persons designated to act as their on-scene representative are adequately trained and prepared to carry out actions under the NCP and the respective regional plans.

    Response Priorities

    When the FOSC receives a report of a discharge or release, actions normally should be taken in the following sequence:

    1. Investigate the report to determine pertinent information, such as the threat posed to public health or welfare or the environment, the type and quantity of polluting material, and the source of the discharge or release.
    2. Officially classify the size of the discharge or release and determine the course of action to be followed.
    3. When the reported discharge is an actual or potential major discharge, greater than 10,000 gallons of oil, or if it is an actual or potential release of hazardous substances that poses a substantial threat to public health or welfare of the United States or the environment or results in significant public concern, immediately notify the RRT, including the affected state, and the National Response Center (NRC).
    4. Determine whether a discharger or other person is properly carrying out removal. Removal is being done properly when:
      1. The cleanup is fully sufficient to minimize or mitigate threat(s) to public health and welfare and the environment.
      2. The removal efforts are in accordance with applicable regulations, including the NCP.

    5. Determine whether a state or political subdivision thereof has the capability to carry out response actions and whether a contract or cooperative agreement has been established with the appropriate fund administrator for this purpose.
    6. Notify the trustees of affected natural resources (See Section 300.600 of the NCP).
    7. Please Note: For discharges or releases that result in a substantial threat to public health or welfare of the United States, the FOSC is mandated by the NCP at 40 CFR parts 300.322 and 300.324 to investigate, and if warranted, direct all federal, state, or private actions to remove the discharge or release or to mitigate or prevent the threat of a discharge or release, as appropriate.

  6. Technical Support

    In addition to the support provided the FOSC by the RRT, a variety of technical support is available through telephone contact or actual dispatch of teams to the field. Support agencies and groups available to the FOSC include:

    1. EPA-Environmental Response Team

      In the event of a continuing release or discharge, an FOSC has access to the EPA Environmental Response Team (ERT), based in Edison, New Jersey, which has expertise in treatment technology, biology, chemistry, hydrology, geology and engineering. The ERT has access to special decontamination equipment and can provide advice on a wide range of diverse issues, such as a multimedia sampling and analysis program; on-site safety, including development and implementation plans; cleanup techniques and priorities; water supply decontamination and protection; application of dispersants; environmental assessment; degree of cleanup required; and disposal of contaminated material. The ERT provides such expertise through Scientific Support Coordinators (SSCs). An SSC may be designated by the FOSC as the principal advisor for scientific issues and communication with the scientific community. This includes coordination of requests for assistance from state and federal agencies.

      The ERT also provides both introductory and intermediate level training courses to prepare response personnel. FOSC or RRT requests for ERT support should be made to the EPA representative on the RRT; or the appropriate EPA regional emergency coordinator.

    2. USCG-National Strike Force Coordination Center

      The National Strike Force Coordination Center (NSFCC) is authorized as the National Response Unit required under OPA, and has responsibilities that include administering the USCG Strike Teams, maintaining response equipment inventories and logistical networks, and conducting a national exercise program. The NSFCC can provide the following support to the FOSC: technical assistance and equipment for spill response, assistance in coordinating resources in support of the FOSC during oil discharge response, ACP or RICP review, coordination of spill response resources information, coordination of pollution response exercises, and inspection of district response equipment.

    3. Gulf Strike Team

      The Gulf Strike Team provides trained personnel and specialized equipment to assist the FOSC in training for spill response, stabilizing and containing the spill, and in monitoring or directing the response actions of the responsible parties and/or contractors. A call to any one of the USCG's Strike Teams will be answered 24 hours a day. In the event the Strike Force contacted is committed, another Strike Team will be accessed.

    4. NOAA

      The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), under the Department of Commerce, may provide information in a number of areas. Like the ERT, its SSCs have a wide variety of expertise. NOAA has mathematicians and physicists who can do computer modeling and simulation studies of releases. NOAA also has a research and planning group that can determine resources at risk, and make recommendations on types of techniques for cleanup--and when to use them. The agency can offer an environmental science group that can provide technical assistance on chemistry, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry fingerprinting, and degradation of oil. The organization includes a biological assessment group that can perform long-term studies and planning. Finally, NOAA possesses an information management group that can produce computerized maps.

    5. U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service

      When a spill occurs, Federal natural resource trustees, located in Rock Island, Illinois, will provide timely advice on the measures necessary to protect wildlife from exposure, as well as the priority and timing of such measures. Protective measures may include preventing the oil from reaching areas where migratory birds and other wildlife are located or deterring birds or other wildlife from entering areas by using wildlife hazing devices or other methods.

D. Multi-Agency Response and Planning Groups

  1. Regional Response Team and Area Committee

    The RRT's origin and reference to the NCP are briefly discussed in paragraphs II. C. and IV C. 1. b. of this SACP. The role of the RRT has two principal components. One is the standing team whose duties are communications systems and procedures, planning, coordination, training, evaluation, preparedness, and related matters on a region wide basis. The RRT also may assume an incident-specific team, as determined by the operational requirements of the response to a specific discharge or release. The RRT has responsibility for developing an RCP and for assisting the FOSC in the event guidance, coordination or resources are needed to provide an adequate response to an incident. The RRT includes a representative from each state within the federal region and representatives from virtually any federal agency that could provide assistance or resources during such a response. EPA and the USCG co-chair the RRT, which does not respond directly to the scene, but instead responds to developments and requests from the FOSC in accordance with relevant contingency plans. In addition, members of the RRT serve as the AC, which has responsibility to produce ACPs within its respective area. Within Region 7, the area and the region are coincident. Generally, the ACP is more planning oriented and aims to be more inclusive of industry and other nongovernmental entities as it plans. The RRT is more response oriented. Semiannual meetings of the Region 7 AC and RRT are held consecutively in the spring and fall of each year. Region 5 AC and RRT meetings are combined and are conducted three times a year.

  2. Sub-area Committees

    The Sub-area executive committee was formed and functions under the authority granted by the Region 5 and 7 ACs. The QC sub-area committee is composed of an EPA OSC each from Regions 5 and 7, a USCG officer, one representative from the Ia DNR, one representative from IEPA, and one representative from each Emergency Management Agency within the boundaries of the of the sub-area; and representatives of local fire departments.

E. Natural Resource Trustees

Pursuant to 33 U.S.C. 2706(b), the governor of each state shall designate state and local officials who may act on behalf of the public as trustees for natural resources and shall notify the President of the designation. CERCLA and OPA require the designation of certain federal, state or Indian tribal officials to act on behalf of the public as trustees of natural resources that they manage or protect. CERCLA, 101(16) defines natural resources as land, fish, wildlife, biota, air, water, ground water, drinking water supplies, and other such resources belonging to, management by, held in trust by, appertaining to, or otherwise controlled by the United States, any state or local government or Indian tribe.

  1. State Trustees

    The Natural Resources Trustee for Iowa is the director of the Ia DNR, while in Illinois the directors of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and of the Illinois EPA serve as trustees.

    1. Role of Iowa Natural Resource Trustees
      The authorities and responsibilities of the Natural Resource Trustee are administered by the Forests and Forestry Division; the Parks, Recreation, and Preserves Division; and the Fish and Wildlife Division, which consists of three bureaus--Law Enforcement, Fisheries, and Wildlife. Depending on the circumstances of an incident, these staff can be a vital resource during a spill.

      In addition to state forests, the Forest and Forestry Division works with municipal tree programs, private woodland owners, and organizations interested in trees to evaluate how a release of hazardous substances could affect trees and determine the value of any trees lost. The Parks, Recreation and Preserves Division manages state-owned parks and preserves and should be notified of any release that could affect those areas. Its staff can assess damage to the areas they manage, establish priorities for protecting resources, and evaluate the effects varied response alternatives could have on plant resources.

      The Law Enforcement Bureau has employees assigned to cover each county in the state. They are familiar with their assigned territories and can often reach the scene of a spill before other responders from state government. They can provide a perspective in terms of general land use, and can help identify sensitive resources that could be affected by an incident. They might be able to assist in accessing remote locations. Ia DNR's employees in the Emergency Response Unit and field offices of the Environmental Protection Division are required to notify the appropriate personnel in the Fish and Wildlife Division whenever hazardous substances have or might contaminate a stream or wildlife habitat.

      Fish and wildlife biologists can provide information on the locations of environmentally sensitive areas and advice on variance in animal activities due to changing seasons. If natural resources are harmed or threatened by the release of hazardous substances, biologists can assist in locating licensed and properly trained wildlife rehabilitators. Biologists can determine the monetary losses due to fish kills, and conduct an assessment of damage to other wildlife and habitat. If it is impossible to protect all resources, biologists should be consulted to determine where to concentrate resources to protect habitats or species of greatest concern or sensitivity. Biologists can provide guidance when such mitigative activities as soil excavation, road-building, steam-cleaning, addition of chemical agents, or in situ burning could cause more damage to natural resources than exposure to the hazardous substances.

    2. Role of Illinois Natural Resource Trustees
      The authorities and responsibilities of the Natural Resource Trustee are administered by three divisions under the Illinois Department of Natural Resources: Illinois Conservation Police, Wildlife Biologist, and Fisheries.

      The Conservation Police in District 6, which includes the Quad Cities area, are familiar with the Mississippi River and terrain in the adjacent counties. In most instances, a conservation officer could respond within an hour to any location within the Quad Cities sub-area. Initial responses would normally draw on one officer each from Rock Island and Henry counties, with a third from Mercer County available, should conditions demand it. Because of their regular duties, officers possess unusual knowledge of many remote areas not regularly visited by the public. Personnel can assist in identifying sensitive resources in the spill area, assist in determination of access to certain more isolated areas, and provide specialized equipment to access remote areas in some situations.

      Wildlife biologists can provide locations of environmentally sensitive areas and advice on how seasonal changes affect animal concentrations or movements. If natural resources are harmed or threatened by the release of oil or hazardous substances, biologists can assist in locating licensed and properly trained wildlife rehabilitators, and can assist with the recovery of injured birds and animals. Biologists can provide water transportation with jon boats or airboats. Biologists can conduct an assessment of damage to wildlife and habitat. If responders' resources are limited and only partial protection of wildlife resources is possible, biologists should be consulted to determine which resources are most critical. Biologists can provide guidance when such mitigative activities as soil excavation, road-building, steam-cleaning, addition of chemical agents, or in situ burning could cause more damage to natural resources than exposure to oil or hazardous substances.

      Responsibility for the Mississippi River fishery rests with the Fisheries office in Aledo, Illinois, while advice on smaller streams and lakes in the Quad Cities area would come from the Region 1 Streams office in Havana, Illinois, or from the Rock Island County fisheries manager, stationed at the Hennepin Canal Parkway in Sheffield, Illinois. Notifications of fish kills should be made to the Fisheries Divisions' coordinator for emergency management, located in the Illinois Department of Natural Resources office in Springfield, Illinois. Field investigations of reported fish kills are carried out by Fisheries and Division of Law Enforcement and IEPA field staff. A Fisheries biologist establishes the limits of the kill, sets up counting stations and determines the species and numbers killed. The information obtained is written into a "Pollution Caused Fish Kill Report," which includes a dollar cost of the fish killed and the cost of the investigation. In addition to the fish kill assessment, the Fisheries Division may provide information regarding the location of sensitive aquatic natural resources, jon boats for transportation, and other appropriate technical assistance.

  2. Federal Trustees

    The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) is responsible for management of migratory birds, federally listed endangered and threatened species, and interjurisdictional fishes within the QC sub-area. National wildlife refuge lands occur upstream and downstream of the subarea, but not in it.. General plan lands managed by the Illinois DNR (Il DNR) for fish and wildlife purposes occur downstream of the I-280 bridge throughout Pool 16. In Pool 17, Big Timber District of the Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge is the northernmost unit for that refuge. The southern limit of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge is at Princeton, Iowa, in Pool 14.

    If exposure of birds and other wildlife to oil or hazardous substances cannot be prevented, an immediate decision would be required as to whether to rescue and rehabilitate "oiled" birds and other wildlife. The USFWS has statutory responsibilities for protecting migratory birds and federally listed threatened and endangered species. In such cases, the USFWS would serve as the lead agency for trustee response, coordinating with other trustees and providing oversight for a qualified wildlife responder. If an incident does not involve migratory birds or federally listed threatened or endangered species, a state natural resource trustee would be the lead agency.

    Following a release or discharge, natural resource trustees may have the additional responsibility of assessing injury to the environment as a result of the spill. Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) is the process by which trustees collect, compile and evaluate data to determine the extent of injury to natural resources. The information gathered is used to assess damages, including determining the dollar amount necessary to restore injured trust resources and compensate for lost use as a result of injury, and then to seek recovery of those damages from the RP. NRDAs are typically initiated concurrent with response activities.

    Initiation of an NRDA (in conjunction with other natural resource trustee agencies) usually involves acquiring data both during and after a spill event to document: 1) evidence of oil or hazardous substances in water, sediments, soil and organisms; 2) effects on fish, wildlife, and/or their habitat; 3) exposure pathways, and 4) the potential need to undertake emergency restoration efforts to prevent or reduce the immediate migration of oil or hazardous substances onto or into a trust resource. Because the conduct of NRDA activities may be identical to those conducted as part of the response, all sampling and field work conducted by the natural resource trustees should be coordinated with the lead response agency.

F. Contractors

Private contractors fulfill a vast array of roles within the HazMat response field, either on a one-time or long-term basis. Many RP's have contracts with Oil Spill Removal Organizations (OSROs) or with HazMat responders to handle spills that may occur. A number of companies handling oil in the Quad Cities area have formed a mutual assistance group in the event of a response. The RP is responsible for Natural Resource Damage Assessments in conjunction with the natural resource trustees of the respective states, and may retain contractors to conduct such assessments. Both EPA regions have START and Emergency and Rapid Response Services (ERRS) contracts to facilitate emergency responses and cleanups. Any contractor responding to a spill will answer to the agency providing its funding, unless arrangements for supervision by other agencies are agreed to by all parties.

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