Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lower Granite Dam staff and nearby response agencies sharpen oil spill response skills

By Brook Beeler, communication manager, Eastern Regional Office

Photo courtesy US Army Corps of Engineers
On Wednesday June 26 th passersby will see boats and boom in the water downstream of Lower Granite Lock and Dam at Boyer Park and Marina on the Snake River.

It’s part of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) multi-agency training exercise to practice containing and recovering oil and other hazardous materials that potentially spill into the river. No oil will be released during the drill. The river will remain open to boaters and river traffic. The best time to watch is from noon to 2 p.m. from the north shore of the river at Boyer Park.

“Our goal is to foster close working relationships with all cooperating agencies in the instance of a spill,” said Sara White of the USACE Environmental Compliance Office for the Lower Granite Project. “We have 28 people, six watercraft, and two spill trailers ready for this practical hands-on training exercise.”

The Corps of Engineers is hosting the training exercise. Washington Department of Ecology staff will participate in the training. County sheriffs, emergency management, and fire and oil spill response agencies from Whitman, Garfield, Nez Perce, and Asotin Counties plan to participate.

Every year Ecology handles 3,800 reports of oil and hazardous material spills and mounts 1,200 field responses to incidents that threaten public health, safety and the environment.

Spill response training exercises form part of Ecology’s ongoing commitment to ensure a rapid, aggressive and well-coordinated response to incidents that pose an immediate threat to public health, safety and the environment.

For more information, see Ecology Spill Prevention, Preparedness and Response Program.

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